Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Message Before Advent

This morning, when I woke up, I was thinking about how Advent is nearing despite the fact that last Christmas feels like it just happened.

Oddly, instead of exciting me, that thought caused me angst.  Where has this year gone?  Look at this house!...
Despite the fact that is is Sunday - my usual day of rest - I decided to do a quick tidy. 

Almost immediately,  found this on my printer:

Ugh.  What is this?  I admit, I was a bit annoyed at finding some random paper sitting on our printer, since the children's creations and art are not supposed to be anywhere near the printer.  Thus, I almost tossed the folded paper into our recycling bin without checking to see which of my children had left it on the printer and if that child happened to want it

Something caused me to pause though. 

The Spirit, perhaps.   

For, as I stepped towards the recycling bin, I felt prompted to open the folded bit of paper, whereupon I found this:

I knew immediately which of my children had written the paper (spelling errors and all) and, I smiled as I thought, Thank you.  I needed this reminder to simply pause and pray right now, affirming love and hope.
Then, later in the day, despite having been a part of a lovely family Mass, I, unfortunately, stopped pausing and praying and began stressing and spinning once more. 

As I looked ahead at the week's calendar I saw how full it was.   Then, our phone rang with a "robocall" that reminded me of an appointment I'd forgotten, which would only make our week ahead busier.  Just after that, my husband let me know that we need to take our minivan to the shop to have something looked at. 

How am I going to fit all this in? 
I began fretting.  What can I do? What can I not do without falling too much further behind?  What needs to take priority?  Yep, my head was spinning with thoughts.

Before I had them all figured out, I looked at the clock.  Ahhhh.  No time to figure out the week now.  We have to go. I realized. 

I had previously made plans to meet friends for a stroll on the beach to see the supermoon rise over the ocean ,and the clock demanded that I pack up our picnic dinner and get the family out the door.

That I did, and, about an hour later, the second message of my day came.


After strolling down the beach with my family and our friends, I had a moment to walk down to the shoreline by myself to see the beauty of the moon reflecting on the sea, as seals chattered on the rocks and my children and their friends laughed as they played and built structures further up the beach behind me.

The scene before me was exquisite - masterful art that only our Lord could create.  Beautiful.  Free for anyone to enjoy, to be inspired by, to be refreshed by...  The message was clear to me:  Take time to enjoy gifts, like this one, a gift received when a choice was made to slow down for an hour or two to spend some time in nature with friends. 

For the Lord gives so freely if only we are willing to slow down and accept what is given.
Yes, slow down.

Those words were the literal final message I received today. 

Tonight, as I was thinking about the week ahead again... and about Advent... and about a gazillion little things and big things, a friend  messaged me about some things she had been pondering and, among her words, were "
'I've ... been thinking a lot about to add more ... and yet slow down."  Those words resonated strongly with me since one of the things on my mind was the fact that the liturgical year has whizzed by and Advent is but two weeks away.

So it is, that I finally listened to the Spirit and heard what I think He's been trying to tell me all day:  Slow down.  Pause.  Pray.  Then, prioritize - including family, faith, friends, nature, and no stressing or spinning in your days.

I am taking those as my marching orders for Advent, and, for me, they won't be the easiest orders to obey.  For anyone that knows me knows how hard it is for me to slow down.

That said, who knows me better than the Lord?  I dare say no one.  And, I also say thank you, Lord.  I get it.  I know I need to slow down some and I appreciate all the gentle, beautiful ways you use to make that more apparent to me today.
As Advent draws near, what message are you getting about how to best personally prepare for and anticipate our Lord's coming?


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