Monday, September 22, 2014

All In

We have a new pastor. He's the great-grand-nephew-something of a previous pastor at our parish, a pastor we never knew because we just got here 4.2 years ago, but he was definitely much beloved and where am I going with this?

Oh, here's where I'm going.  Our new pastor is really young (younger than ME young!  And I'm...what?  24 or something?  So, wow.  Young.) and he has the same last name and is related to that previous pastor and I sort of...

Ugh.  I bet someone is going to tell him this.  Or he's going to read it himself.  (I saw him checking his iphone right before Mass yesterday.  Then he stealth-like dropped it into the hidden pocket in his ankle length cassock, suited up in his ordinary-time green vestments and processified right in.  Homey ain't afraid of the interwebz.).  But I'll press on.  Because I'm foolish.

So I passed judgement on our new pastor before I got to know him or his story.  "He's this many years old and does the uptalk thing and likes to play kickball?  And his great uncle was so and so?  Oh yeah, pretty sure he's a ______________ sort of guy and they're putting him at our parish for reasons ______ and ______ and ______."  And I can't even remember what I filled those blanks with anymore, but I do know I was wrong.  It was unfair of me, it is always unfair of me, to just decide, because I'm so remarkably intuitive or whatever I tell myself, things about people based on categories I create in my own mind.  But that's what I did.  I decided  that I knew that he probably wouldn't have much new stuff to teach me (neat how I already know everything, amiright?), and that we didn't have much in common, and it would be fine to have him at the parish but nothing too exciting.

As if it's HIM doing the teaching from the pulpit anyway.
As if having things in common is the best way for two people to learn from each other.
As if the things I assumed about him would preclude learning even if they were true.
Can the Holy Spirit facepalm?  If so: doing it right now in my general direction.

INSTEAD (you knew this was coming), basically every Sunday since he became our pastor, I wanna hop up and down and high five everyone around me during the homily and then come right here and just, like, tell you every word he said.

I laughed so loud one week at some story he told, an atrocious, honking laugh, that this teenager three rows in front of us actually turned around with this look of horror on his face, as if some toddler had perhaps brought an old bicycle horn into the pew and was stomping on it during all the quiet parts.

Nope. Just dweej. Embarassing herself as usual.

But I don't want to tell you his funny story right now.  I want to tell you about a phrase that he used in a homily several weeks ago that was so clearly intended by the Holy Spirit to shoot straight into my scattered heart, that it has helped me be a better....not just mother and wife.  A better everything.  A better me.

And it was so simple.

Are you ready?

All. In.

All in.

That's it.  Just those two words.  He was talking about the word covenant, what a covenant means.  That it's not just a promise like "I promise not to forget milk at the store."  But a promise to be ALL IN in whatever you've agreed to do or be. 

Earlier that morning, in the mad rush before leaving the house, I had felt myself becoming disconnected from my family, as I am wont to do when things are not going perfectly smoothly.  Read: all the time.  Maybe everyone does this, but I feel like I'm particularly good (bad?) at compartmentalizing things and becoming rigid and unfeeling when I am trying to achieve a particular goal.  And then it's as if I'm a spectator, sort of looking down on the mayhem.  My mind and heart are not "in it."  What I want during those times is for everyone to shut up and do what I say, not for their benefit but for mine, and I'd even like them to do the things I've neglected to say but I just assume everyone ought to know I'm thinking because duh.  Obviously.

When he started using that phrase in his homily- All In- I knew this was an invitation straight from the Holy Spirit.

Do you really want to enjoy your vocation more?  Are you ready to do better?  Is it time?  Because if you are, this is what it's going to take. 

Stop pulling away.  Stop withholding.  Reject the temptation to do the bare minimum for the irritating, tedious tasks so you can get back to doing what you imagine will be more fun. 

Take your eyes OFF the prize and put them on your children instead.

I was challenged that day.  I was convicted.  Was I ready to go all in on this life?  Finally, after practicing mothering lite for 13.5 years, was I ready to level up?

I had to say yes.  Even though the reality of doing it would kind of suck sometimes, I knew I had to try.  But to look at that feeling of disconnectedness in the face, that feeling I've embraced so often in the past, and to name it, gave me power.  A Little In apparently wasn't gonna cut it anymore.

Please know that a hundred times since that call, I've fallen.  I have failed.  I've gone into that place in my brain that turns my children or husband or other people into objects in my elaborate plan for things to go just the exact way I want them to because can't you see that I have the absolute best ideas?  But instead of never saying it and never doing better, now I sometimes say it and am doing a little better:

"All in."

Oh yes, I actually have to say it.  Out loud.  When the third kid asks for a drink after I've already tried to sit down and answer this one dagblam email four different times and WHY ARE THESE TODDLERS ACTING LIKE SUCH CHILDREN???  I can sometimes catch myself.  And when I do I whisper "all in, all in, all in, all in..." and it's as if the Holy Spirit is talking me right off that ledge.  I can feel the frustration and irritation ebbing with each syllable.  It is truly remarkable and I am absolutely grateful.

So, in the style of our new pastor, I'm going to summarize the two things I'm thinking about today:  1) being a categorizing, judgey-pants jerkwad is a great way to miss out on really getting to know actual people as individuals, which is of course, the only way to love them and 2) For me Being a Little In is out and, though I will certainly continue to fail, being All In is definitely in.






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39 comments :

  1. I hardly (read never) post comments on blogs I read, but this one brought tears to my eyes. I was up all night with my 7 month old daughter and when the alarm went off this morning, I was pretty much already over today and thought of spend alone with her. Thank you for reminding that I have to be all in as a Mom.

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  2. Oh how I needed this reminder! Thanks for sharing your new pastor's nugget of wisdom with the rest of us!

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  3. I am so moved by this and love the idea of framing my life in these terms. Thanks for sharing. Thank your pastor for me, too!

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  4. I wish I could have hearted this 100 more times in bloglovin (my sad substitution for comments these days). This is so spot on it isn't even funny.

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  5. I love this. Beautifully written. Thank you!

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  6. This concept has been nagging at me for at least 6 months. Or, maybe I should say the Holy Spirit has been nagging at me for at least 6 months. Thanks for another reminder!

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  7. very nive. a little eerie. my little crazy chant is "all for"...we belong to an apostolate that practices consecreation of your family to the holy family, and the first two words of their prayer are "all for".

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  8. Wow! Ok, so you know how you said, "I wanna hop up and down and high five everyone around me during the homily and then come right here and just, like, tell you every word he said"?
    That's how I feel about this post.
    Fabulous!

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  9. Exactly what I needed to read this morning.

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    1. Glad to see you already read it. I was about to send it to you. :)

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  10. I think you should start doing weekly posts on what the pastor said in his homily. Inspire us with his nuggets, Dweej!!!

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    1. And that sounded pretty creepy, but I hope you know what I mean!

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    2. guess my mind is in the gutter, but that was LOL!

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  11. Okay...your blog just ate my comment. It was all "good job" and "me too." :)

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  12. I love this. Absolutely what I need to hear today.

    p.s. I see that apple core in the last picture. My mom cuts apples like that (therefore so do I) and I've never seen anybody else do it. By far the easiest way to cut them! :)

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    1. I like my cores like I like my...angles? #square

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    2. Totally how I cut mine too... all about efficiency here! And, awesome post, way to call all us occasionally (er, every day) half-hearted moms ON. I think it's so easy for me to just "do" all the "things" I need to, without actually mentally/spiritually putting myself into it... so yes, all in would be a big improvement!

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  13. YES! Love it. And I TOTALLY have to talk to myself, OUT LOUD, when I am trying to work on something I don't yet possess/haven't internalized.

    (My last one, when in a murky period prone to loosing temper/lashing out - lovely, I know - was "what are you really feeling?" Yes, so dorky and psychotherapy sounding, but man, it helped. Scary how often it had nothing to do with what I was reacting against. Or very very little. Oy.)

    Love when smart, insightful pastors can say theological concepts (read: "total self gift") in ways that just cut to the heart of our basic human instincts and colloquial parlance. ALL IN! :)

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  14. Thank you. I might need to get a tattoo that says that.

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  15. 9Peas mama shared this on Facebook, in which I reaped the benefits.

    This is what I told her:
    Middle to the end, she got me. Teared up and everything. All in. Have to start saying it to myself too. We have 2 priests, the main priest is always there, but we always get, every 2 years, sometimes even every year, a new, young priest. It's amazing. They are all amazing and on fire for God. And those first year blessings? Yep, we get them!

    All in. My new motto. Awesome, thank you so much for sharing!

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  16. Thank you. This is something I've been struggling with and praying about. Half assing my vocation has led me to be grumpity and irritable, therefore making me less wont to...whole ass my vocation...

    I shall think of another term to describe my lack of being "all in" later, but thank you thank you thank you for this post. And thank your new pastor too. Or text him. whatevs.

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  17. We have a new pastor too and try as I might not to, I've been passing judgment because he drives a Caddy and his FB page just states his name, no Rev or Fr in front or Order behind. His profile pic is in street clothes and many of his pics are at bars celebrating something or another with friends. So thank you!

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  18. I've been "all in" self talking today since I read this post earlier. Thank you. So beautiful to be able to give it our all. Or at least to try with all our might. And, it makes me feel more peaceful, to boot! :) God is good.

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  19. So the Holy Spirit spoke through your priest right to you and then through you straight to my heart. All in. Yes. That's exactly what I need to be. Thank you for sharing.

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  21. High five-ing you from down here in Texas. I so needed to read this.

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  22. We call those priests "baby priests" at our parish. We used to get a lot of them because we had a pastor who was a really good mentor for new priests. We haven't had one in awhile. And you and I are the same person. Really. I have that "why are you bothering me and not doing what I want you to do" feeling regularly. If everyone in this house would just go along with MY program, things would be a lot simpler!! So "all in" is my new motto too.

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  23. My husband and I talk about being "all in" in relation to our faith a lot, but I guess it would be good to apply it to my mothering skills as well! Love this post!

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  24. Word. This and some other things are really speaking to me this week. Thanks for sharing, Dwija!

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  25. Wow. This is turkey beautiful. Thanks, Dwija. (And so I wrote "truly beautiful" and my phone autocorrected but I left it because I thought it would make you laugh.)

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  26. Man oh man, did the Holy Dpirit just face palm me this one! Be 'all in' in my vocation... So simple and so hard.
    Thanks!

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  27. Oh and feel free to pass any more nuggets of wisdom from your new priest. :)

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