What’s for Dinner?

It was one of those crazy busy days when the to-do list was pouring through my head faster than this one-man show could perform.  One of those days where everything simply cannot get done and the only control I’m in is damage control.  One of those days where the teenagers will be kept waiting at practice, the little kids will be stuck in car seats for hours on end and all will subsist on goldfish and juice boxes until dinner.  Except on those days it’s usually the case that there is no dinner. I hate those days of winging it.

Even if I successfully juggle all the rest it always comes down to dinner time.  I procrastinate and put it off because that seems easier in the busy moments of the afternoon but 6 o’clock inevitably arrives, every single day, and my family is hungry.  With some forethought and planning I certainly could be more organized and have a plan to get a meal on despite a crazy busy schedule. I could and should make it a priority in my day, but for some reason that I can’t explain, I avoid it and we unfailingly arrive at the dreaded question, “Mom, what’s for dinner?”

Often our spiritual life gets approached in this same haphazard manner.  We move along in our lives doing all kinds of important things and assume that somehow we will fulfill our spiritual obligations.  Even if we manage to squeeze in some prayer time or mass or confession sometimes it’s really nothing more than a check mark on the to-do list.  I catch myself in this little trap sometimes.  For example, I strive to pray a rosary every day as our lady requested of her children in her apparition at Fatima. Usually praying a rosary is a beautiful time of prayer and peace and grace. Sometimes, however, I fit it in while I’m busy doing other things and realize along the way that I’m not really meditating on the joys and sorrows and miracles of the life of Jesus.  I’m merely reciting and getting it done, not actually growing in holiness and grace, not actually offering up my prayers for the good of anyone.  That’s not really praying.  And how about confession?  Despite the fact that I KNOW how beautiful and miraculous a gift the sacrament is, I still avoid it at times.  Not because I don’t want to go but because I’m busy.

I AM busy but the sacrament of confession is important.  Attending mass and receiving Jesus in the Eucharist are important.  Daily prayer is important.  Spending time in adoration of Jesus is important.  Taking time to nurture mind, body AND spirit is important.  As a society we are very good at the mind and body part, but the Spirit part often gets left to chance when spending a little time nurturing our relationship with God should be priority #1.

The problem with leaving our spiritual life to a chance encounter is that there will be a reckoning.  At some point, maybe today, we will face our creator and stand before our all loving but very just judge.  Does it make sense to go about our day without a spiritual plan and some spiritual organization?  Does it make sense to continue in sin when forgiveness is readily available?  Does it make sense to excel in worldly arenas at the expense of eternal ones?

Mt. 6: 19-20 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on Earth, where moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.”

The dinner hour will inevitably arrive and the question will be posed, “Mom, what’s for dinner?”  In that moment I will be faced with having to answer.  It’s a simple question and I know every single morning that it will need to be answered later in the day.  No explanation of what I did accomplish will be adequate if it’s followed by “sorry kids, no dinner tonight“.  They will not be impressed that I single-handedly conquered 12 loads of laundry and several sinks of dishes because the dishwasher is still broken, or ran to the bathroom every half hour because the 2-year-old is potty training.  It won’t matter that I took care of some banking and paying bills and important phone calls.  I doubt they will be sympathetic if I tell them Andrew had a t-ball game and Dad got held up at work or that it was my turn on the gymnastics carpool.

The question remains.  It is the moment of my daily reckoning, and I’ve known it was coming all day long. When I look my hungry children in the eye, how will I answer?

2 Peter 3:10-12 “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?  You ought to live holy and Godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed it’s coming…” 

It was one of those days and I made it through. I wipe the imaginary sweat from my brow (and give myself a tiny pat on the back if truth be told).  Pheeew!  Sometime soon it will be one of those days again.

I have no excuse but to be ready.

Lord fill us with a sense of urgency and determination to draw nearer to you. Amen