Sunday was the beginning of the second phase of my daughter’s preparation for receipt of the sacrament of Confirmation, a six-week program of prayer and reflection on the candidate’s faith lives aimed at deepening their relationship with the Holy Spirit. One of the elements of Sunday’s session, which included parents, asked parent and child to exchange cards that were attached to prayer medals. The cards the candidates were asked to fill out and give their parents read “Dear ______, On my journey I am proud to offer my family and community these gifts ________. Please pray with me about these concerns in my life ____________.” The card parents were asked to fill out and give their child said, “Dear _______, As you prepare for Confirmation, the gift I ask of the Holy Spirit for you is ________.”
The card I gave my daughter read, “Dear Elena, As you prepare for Confirmation, the gift I ask of the Holy Spirit for you is patience and calmness when things don’t go the way you want them to.” The card Elena gave me, after identifying the gifts she offers (her singing, her love, her helpfulness), said “Please pray with me about these concerns in my life: finding some way to fit everything I love in my life.”
What struck me just now as I was sitting her looking at her card, which I will keep with me as we walk through these months until her Confirmation, is how both the prayer she asked for herself and the prayer I made for her are things I need as well. (And I’m probably not the only one: I’m betting at least a few people reading this shook their heads knowingly at one or the other of the prayers, thinking, “Yep, me too.”)
Patience and calmness when things don’t go my way. The office e-mail goes down. The doctor keeps me waiting 30 minutes after my appointment time. My class is unresponsive. A plane is delayed. My husband doesn’t do something I asked him to do. Traffic causes me to be late for a meeting. How I would love it if I could sit calmly and patiently when such things occur; they are, after all, normal parts of life. And sometimes I manage. But other times I can feel my insides churning and the tension mounting. Lord, help me accept with grace whatever I am faced with.
Finding some way to fit everything I love in my life. How many times I find myself thinking, “if there were just a few more hours in each day…” There never seems to be enough time. I want more time to pray, more time to read, more time to play the accordion, more time to present more retreats or write more articles, more time with my husband and daughter, more time to do nothing more than sit and look at the trees (not to mention some more time to exercise). At this point in my life (having had a lot more years of trying to fit it all in than my daughter) I realize there just won’t be enough time for everything and perhaps the prayer really needs to be: Let me do what I can, and let me know that is enough. Maybe the prayer time today was shorter than I would have liked, maybe tomorrow I won’t get the accordion practice done, and maybe I’ll only get to the gym once this week. But I did what I could and that’s good enough. And the things I love that I didn’t do today, well, they will have to wait until tomorrow.