Thursday, January 19, 2017

That quote

Howdy! I'm glad you're here.  
This post probably contains run-on sentences, sentence fragments, 
affiliate links, and unnecessary ellipses.  If none of that bothers you, let's be friends.

Many moons ago, I read a quote from Ven. Abp. Fulton Sheen that helped me redefine and reframe the small irritations of daily life.  But I could not, could not, find it anywhere, so of course I threw myself at the feet of my facebook friends, who are brilliant internetters, until we finally scrounged it up.

It's from a book called Fulton Sheen's Wartime Prayer Book and goes like this:

"At least three times a day, deny yourself some tiny, legitimate pleasure, such as the extra cigarette, the second drink, or the extra lump of sugar, in order to discipline your spirit and keep mastery over yourself for the love of God.

These little "deaths" are so many rehearsals for the final death. Dying is a masterpiece, and to do it well, we must die daily: 'If any man would come after me, let him...take up his cross daily' (Luke 9:23)."

Last night I was going back downstairs after putting someone to bed and I saw a toy in the hallway out of the corner of my eye. My first instinct (of course) was "someone will pick that up tomorrow...."  Ah.  Perfect opportunity to exercise this sort of self-discipline.  It was a tiny thing.  No one really cared one way or the other.  But I didn't WAAAAAAAAAAAANT to pick it up.  Waaaaaaaaaaaah.  So I picked it up. 

Once a week there's a free local "newspaper" filled with ads that gets thrown at the base of our mailbox.  Then the bag it's in gets wet and then it freezes to the ground and then some dirty snow piles on top of it and then the mail truck drives over it and when I notice it I just do not want to pick it up and throw it away.  Like, it's not even that because I don't ask for that piece of trash to be thrown there, I feel like shouldn't have to be the one to get it.  It's nothing that reasonable. It's just "I'm just here to get the mail.  I don't also want to peel frozen trash off the ground."  So I give myself a little shake and pick up the stupid piece of garbage.

Sometimes in the evening I look around the kitchen and ask myself what would be nice to have done come morning and I do that instead of scrolling through Instagram even though I really want to scroll through Instagram something fierce and if I think of this quote, I feel at peace instead of feeling put out by my boring lot in life. 

I'm not doing anything heroic or spectacular or even "extra."  These are things that, as a wife and mother and homeowner, I ought to be doing.  So I'm not here braggin' on my awesomeness or anything.  It's just that I love how this advice from Ven. Sheen helps me to reign in my first instinct which is to not do the thing unless I really feel like it.  When I remember to take his advice, of course.  Which has been...spotty lately.  We'll just call it that: spotty.  Wink wink. 

Here's to a masterpiece of a death, y'all.


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14 comments :

  1. love this! I get irritated rather easily, so this will be a great quote for me to live by (or, you know, try) - nancyo

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  2. I needed this reminder. Thanks!

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  3. Ohhh that the wet-bagged trash mail- not a fan of that at all. Thanks for that quote!

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  4. Oh gosh. That unwanted ad circular thrown on my driveway every week. I should probably stop yelling and shaking my fist at the car that delivers it.

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  5. I love this. I so need it. I'm like Nancy above, I get irritated easily, too, and that's something I'm working on.

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  6. Love that quote. It reminds me of one that the Benedictines live by, if you see it, you are responsible for it. Can't tell you how many things I have picked up off the floor or the ground or whatever just because that is stuck in my head.

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  7. Sheen is awesome. So are you. 😊 Following suit. 🙃

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  8. What does it tell you about the state of most people in our neighborhood who leave one or two of those free papers out every week. There are even a few who let them pile up FOR WEEKS without putting them in the trash---which they roll down the driveway every week and place next to the papers! And no, they are not out of town. Once I carried a whole bunch to the front porch for someone so their house wouldn't look vacant, and the owner came to the door! LOL! She had the grace to look a little sheepish when I explained, but she still lets them accumulate. Anyway, you're right...so many little opportunities to die to self. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. Thank you so much for posting this. I needed it to keep me motivated as I moved through my chores today.

    I love the idea that God sees what I'm doing even if it feels like no one else notices.

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  10. Love this. Those small acts of self denial can be so hard, day after day, but they make us and the world around us so much better!

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