Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

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One of my favorite things to do with Coffee & Pearls is to find material that you’re probably not reading, put a Catholic twist on it and share it with all of you! I imagine there aren’t a ton of you reading business books, sales books, or books about how to create online courses. And yet the tips I find in these books would be so helpful to moms.

Today I want to share with you a quote from Ira Glass.  This is a popular quote that is shared among artists and writers who are feeling discouraged about their work. But this morning, I was thinking, this really is the same frustration we feel about marriage and parenting.

Here is the quote:

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

Now I did not have a lot of good examples of happy marriages or peaceful homes and certainly none that were Catholic. When I got married, I’m not sure I had many expectations for what Catholic marriage and motherhood should look like. But quickly, I found some superb examples and that’s when I would begin to feel discouraged.

There is something so wonderful about sitting with a mother in her fifties who has many children, some of whom have left the house and hearing her talk about family life. I could hold onto a cup of tea and listen to that mom speak for hours. Wisdom is dripping off of her and she casually chats about the whirlwind experience of raising a family.

I am especially in awe of veteran homeschoolers and I love to ask a million questions when I manage to grab them!

When I just had Rose Mary, I would often see moms with three or four kids and even though the noise might have been louder and the busyness of the children was happening around us, these moms had a peace about knowing how to handle their own kids. Now I see that I too am much more able to handle my four kids than I did my first one but I am now looking 10-20 years ahead at the mom who has raised teenagers and sent them off to college.

This quote is true whether you’re trying to produce physical work or whether you’re trying to be a good wife and a good mother. Your taste is likely far above your ability. But there is hope! In acknowledging that, it lessens our pain and frustration and it gives us a little extra strength to persevere. We know it will get better because WE will get better. There are just a certain number of spousal squabbles and toddler tantrums we have to experience before we too can refine our skills as wives and homemakers.

Like everything I talk about, I’d like to give it a spiritual slant as well. When Ira ends with “You’ve just gotta fight your way through,” I think this is especially true about Catholic motherhood and marriage. The devil is trying desperately to unseat the last hold that God has in our society, which is faithful families.

If he can disrupt your marriage, if he can make you feel unsatisfied with raising children, if he can turn your heart cold with bitterness or hot with rage toward God, he is one step closer to breaking up your family. And in my opinion, a family can be broken up without divorce. We can continue to live as a family in a dark and twisted environment of addiction, selfishness, and anger. We may even appear happy on the outside but if God is not the center of… everything… we are in danger of letting the devil win.

One thing I repeat to myself often about the tasks I choose to take on, the way I serve my family, and the work I do with all of you, is that God’s economy is the opposite of the world’s economy. God’s ways are not the ways of the world and so doing “the right thing” can often feel wrong. I love this quote from Fr. Kirby in his book Kingdom of Happiness, which I highly recommend:

While momentary happiness may be possible, true and consistent happiness can only be found in a world that is right side up; that is, facing in a direction beyond itself, toward God, who is all-good and the source of long-lasting happiness.

I want you to think today about ways that you are pleasing the world instead of pleasing God. It probably isn’t even a big things or an immoral choice but simply a choice that isn’t best. Go through your day or your calendar for the week. Imagine you’re telling Jesus about what you have to do. Now notice any time you feel uncomfortable, then sit with that feeling and ask yourself, “Why?”

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