It’s really easy to look at the negative side of things some days. If we are honest with ourselves, we all do it. Life is busy for everyone – work, kids, chores and other important responsibilities. At times, we can get caught up in all this “business” and forget to appreciate the blessings provided by God which are part of each day.
On a recent walk during an unseasonably warm and beautiful February day, I popped in my earphones to hear a favorite podcast by Bishop Robert Barron. It’s been an extremely busy time at school thus my mood hasn’t been great due to exhaustion and anticipation about many things. I was hoping the calm voice of Bishop Barron would ease my nerves and provide some much-needed spiritual inspiration.
As my feet hit the pavement and settled into a healthy rhythm, I cleared my mind of all the clutter and tried to appreciate the gifts of sun, warmth and solitude. After some time, I began to truly hear Bishop Barron’s words which centered on God’s respect of our freedom. This is the reality in which God gives us what we choose each day. If we choose to be angry and sad – that is what we will become. If we choose to judge others and put them down, that is what we will become. But, if we choose to be happy and caring, despite the sadness and challenges in our own lives – that is what we will become. We become what we choose. So, if we choose to be thoughtful, kind and charitable people (especially when we don’t feel like it) – we become people of love. The more we choose the path of love, the closer we become to being the kind of person who is fit for heaven.
Of course I think of my beloved mother Joan as a person who chose the path of love during her entire life. During her 75 years, there were moments of struggle, despair and challenge in which she could have chosen to be a person of anger, resentment or jealousy, but she turned against these choices. Instead, she followed Jesus – even when it was difficult, and chose to care for others, love others, support others and give back to others. She willed the good of the other throughout her life thus became a person of love who was swept up to heaven the moment she closed her eyes on earth. Heaven was waiting for this light in the darkness, this beautiful soul who was filled with unconditional, life-giving love.
As I think about my life as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, professional and (healing back patient) – I am reminded to follow my mom’s example and choose the path of love in all circumstances. Some days – it’s hard – I don’t feel like it. It’s easier to keep to myself and perhaps even wallow in my own pain and struggles. But this choice is not one that leads to happiness or heaven. Mom has shown me the way. If we become what we choose then I choose love – like mom. Afterall – I want to follow her to heaven someday.