It's another busy and stressful day. I was really looking forward to going to Mass.
I feel that with all that's on my plate right now, I need to ask for extra graces.
So we had dinner at 6 PM. I was hoping that the kids would finish their food fast and get dressed in time for the Mass.
Ok, I realized I had high expectations... We were a few minutes late again for daily Mass... considering that the church is just behind our house and I could hear the bell from the kids' bedroom.
My consolation is that I was still able to go to Mass with my kids. That is a dream come true and an answered prayer.
As we hurriedly walked to the church, I reminded my eldest son of the proper behavior during the Mass. He said he knows what to do.
But in church, the usual challenge happened again. The kids are being kids and are making some noise. My toddler was moving around instead of sitting down quietly. I gave him our house keys to distract him. I gave the umbrella to my eldest so he wouldn't get the house keys from his younger brother. That would keep them quiet and I would have some peace.
It did not keep my boys quiet and my eldest sat quietly and beside me only for some time. His butt "got itchy" after some time and he began to be restless.
I kept whispering reminders to him but my reminders didn't seem to get through.
I kept reminding myself that Jesus once said, "Let the little children come to me."
And so I brought my children to the church with me. Actually, I also do not want to leave them home with the maid only. With all the bad things I heard from the news and read in the internet, I don't want to take that risk.
Anyway, I thank God for those moments when I'm not hushing my child or running after them or trying to keep my eldest seated beside me. I'm grateful for those moments when I had heart-to-heart exchanges with God. I was in truth amazed that I still felt refreshed and comforted even as I worried about my kids disturbing other churchgoers because of their noise and movements.
When I saw the smile of the man seated behind us when we said "Peace be with you" to each other, I felt that I saw a glimpse of the Father's smile. I felt comforted and assured that bringing my kids with me to go to Mass is part of His Will for our family.
So although I felt embarrassed (and proud at the same time because he was singing his heart out to God and he knew how to sing the songs in tune) of my eldest son when he belted out the "Amen" and "Ama Namin" and he read the responses a bit later than the rest of the congregation, I made a decision not to leave the kids at home when I go to Mass in the coming days.
I thought, "He's just four years old anyway but somehow he tries to participate in the Mass. But since he is only four years old and a hyperactive boy, it's natural that he can't sit still for an entire hour without making some noise or movements in between. Even the Occupational Therapists/Teachers of my eldest son tell me that one hour is too long to expect for a four year old to sit still. However, they encourage constant reminders and practice. There! Constant practice! That's exactly what I plan to do. That's one of my reasons for bringing them with me. I want them to learn by practicing. And since they are still practicing, they are bound to make mistakes.
Then, I thought about my life and my walk with God. I'm also practicing in this life. I'm practicing to be Christlike. I'm practicing to live my life according to God's Will. I'm still practicing and so I'm making a lot of mistakes in the process. I thank God that He is an evergracious Father to me. That He has not given up on me and that my countless mistakes during practice does not make Him think or decide to leave me.
Hmmmm... I thought this would just be a short post. Now, it has developed into a meaty reflection which is quite surprising because I was already sleepy minutes before I started composing this post. I guess that's the Spirit working in me and through me. Another proof from God that even in my weakness, He can bring out something beautiful.
Let me conclude by sharing how our evening at home looked after the Mass.
My very intense child (who belted out the "Amen" and "Ama Namin" during the Mass for everyone to hear even without a microphone) requested for his guitar, got the mic from our electric keyboard and went up our stairs. He started singing some worship songs at the landing.
I asked him to go down and sing in the middle of our sala where there's plenty of space but he wouldn't obey. He said that the stairs is his stage. I explained to him why I want him to go down. I told him that he might fall and his younger brother might go up the stairs as well. His mind was set however. So I told my youngest that we will just pretend to be the audience and we will stay at the bottom of the stairs while we watch his big brother perform. I'm glad my youngest didn't insist anymore to go up.
Then, to savor the moment and let go of my stress, I stood at the bottom of the stairs holding a camera. I enjoyed his songs and became my son's number 2 fan. His younger brother is his number 1 fan now!
My lessons for today: we are all works in progress and practice makes us more like Christ!