After giving it some thought, I decided to break it down a little so that maybe it will make a little more sense.
Sometimes I feel like being Catholic—or just a good Christian in general—is too exhausting and time consuming to be practical on a daily basis. That sounds terrible, I know, but it also sounds pretty human, too.
When I think about what’s so “hard” about it, the first thing that comes to mind is that I don’t always feel like being nice. It’s important to be nice, but it can be a struggle. A big struggle.
I don’t mean to say that I’m an evil, nasty person. I’m not. But sometimes I feel evil and nasty. Like when I get up an hour before I really want to because I have to go to work and on the way to work someone cuts me off and then goes ten miles UNDER the speed limit…when I get to work and can’t find parking…when I leave my lunch at home in the fridge and I have no money in my wallet (so I end up being tired and hungry—bad combination!)…when I work all day, go home, make dinner, start laundry, eat dinner, play with the baby, give the baby a bath, read her a story, rock her, sing to her and put her to bed, clean up from dinner, take care of the dishes, continue doing laundry, sweep/mop the floors, put away toys, wipe down the kitchen sinks and counters, wipe down the bathrooms and put up clean towels, squeeze in a workout before it gets too late…when I finish all of that and it’s late and I finally have fifteen minutes to myself, only to realize that the diaper pail is stinky and needs to be taken out, I didn’t plan anything for dinner for the next night and I still have to take a shower before I can go to bed…the last thing I want to think about or do is be nice to someone else.
All I want to do is crawl into an isolated spot and slap the next person who dares to look at me. Not a very Christian attitude, is it?
Then I put it all in perspective. Everything I did today was nice for somebody. I’m not always happy at my job, but the consumers who receive services are happy that I’m up and at ’em and I’m sure my students are learning something when I give them homework assignments. Making dinner and doing household stuff may sometimes feel like a burden, but it’s fulfilling, too, because it’s something nice for my family. Playing with my daughter, reading, singing—all those things are nice for my little girl. And even the stinky bag from the diaper pail is good—there are garbage men (and women) who rely on trash from my house to have a job.
I think most people do their best to be nice most of the time. Of course, there are people we meet who are hardly ever nice—but we don’t know what they do when we’re not around. I like to believe that when I do something nice, even it’s just something small, it’s a reflection of the core of who I am.
God made each and every one of us for something. I don’t know why God made me, but that’s part of the fun and wonder of being human. How boring would life be if we already had the answers to everything?
I came across this prayer that I really like because it sort of sums it up:
Holy God, You have created me for a purpose that only I can fulfill. I am unique, special, worthwhile and whole in You. Amen.