Pondering the Present at The Potty
“The duty of the moment is what you should be doing at any given time, in whatever place God has put you.If you have a child, your duty at the moment may be to change a dirty diaper.So you do it. But you don’t just change that diaper, you change it to the best of your ability, with great love for both God and that child. You can see Christ in that child.
(Catherine Doherty, Dear Parents)
We can often box ourselves into a prison of sorts in seeking beyond where God has called us. To rest in the present with a calm of heart requires us to remain ever rested in God, as the great St. Augustine reminds us…“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
To rest in God leads us naturally to reside in our present circumstances with an immensity of purpose. Though simple things may seem they become imbued with incredible meaning when seen in the light of God’s grace to us.
There are moments perhaps of lusting for another time and place, to be somewhere beyond the “nitty gritty” and the seeming monotonous things of our days overtake the zest we have planned for ourselves just outside our reach. In this we are victim of failing to recognize the extraordinary presence of Christ within where we are. We miss His majesty within each moment.
Refining ourselves to such an awareness is a huge spiritual work brought on through much surrender. motherhood in particular proposes such an invitation to surrender. A shedding of self and pruning of virtue. Surely we must deafen the shouts and sounds of the “mom wars ” circling around and hear the noise and battle within our own soul, calling us ever so gently to servitude at the Lord’s feet through the service to our children and families. This is , in my opinion a forgotten art, a forgotten treasure and viewpoint ripped apart by illusions of pro-women ideologies.
Children invite sacrifice, in fact if you are a stranger to it, sacrifice comes like a thief, or cry in the night and shatters self so beautifully, or destructively depending on your perception of course.
The closer we live to God and away from self the easier, or more peaceful this transition can be. There is incredible grace, for we are used to living for Another, because of Another. When we can have reverence for our own existence then being a parent, being a mother is a divine task.
But surely we are victim to a generation of “stuff” marketed to “aid” women in their task of motherhood from contraptions to tools, to some of the most outlandish and expensive items, which in turn fail to praise and identify that the most irreplaceable most essential of all aids comes from what a mother’s love can alone achieve.
I wish we sought more to build up and highlight the power and immensity of a mother’s touch instead of sending them reaching out for items. Reaching them past the universe of divinely given treasures within them and out in the battle zone of moms…. moms who have “this” and have “that”. The judgments are outlandish and how destructive it is to see the supposed “War on Women” being spearheaded by other women! True femininity is a radical hiddenness in the heart of Christ and the bosom of our Lady. To reconcile ourselves to this hiddenness is the revealing of the most beautiful mystery.
Void of God, all of us, each of us, from moms to dads, to grandmoms, have essentially nothing.
Most recently I began potty training my daughter. Simultaneously, and rather appropriately, I also took one of Catherine Doherty’s books off the shelf and immersed myself in reading. Naturally, as a Catherine I am drawn to her…..oh, perhaps a bit biased in it, but she has been a source of tremendous wisdom.
Nothing has prepared me for patiently awaiting each “doodie” in potty training, like her teaching on the “Duty of the Moment”. Quite frankly, potty training has attuned me to be present in the moment like nothing else. My restlessness in sitting at Eliana’s feet in the early days of training (literally sat there for what felt like an eternity in the first day) revealed to me how distracted I was from the present moment most days. How much I was truly like Martha. It is amazing how much meditation on the foot of Cross is made possible at my daughter’s feet on the potty!
I recognized so quickly, that even though I am home with her each day and tending to her needs and the immense needs of up-keeping the home and the kitchen,I often forget the power of just sitting with her. Distracted by what may seem to be the “Duty of the moment”, and looking past the most important.
I am reminded of Jesus’ words to Martha, and the witness of Mary (Luke 10:38-42), this has reconciled for me the call to stillness, to silence, to presence before those we serve and to truly listen for Christ speaking to us in these most simple things.
Imbued with great love of God nothing is void of meaning or purpose. Even the potty, even the dirty diapers within our lives show to us the numerous blessings of Christ. (CC)
By God’s grace potty training has gone very well. 🙂
Catherine C. Spada
Catherine C. Spada is a Public Middle School educator currently loving her new role as a full-time mom to a budding toddler girl and baby boy. Her and her husband Carmen reside outside of Toronto. Catherine’s favourite time of prayer is the quiet solitude of the early mornings when the world is fast asleep and the coffee is hot. She enjoys speaking on all things faith related and sharing the beauty of the Catholic faith through her blog entitled Sacred Sharings for The Soul, and on Twitter @celeste_cc7.