Yesterday, I sent an email asking a family member to babysit my older children the night of my scheduled c-section. After two months of benign neglect, I received six emails back from this family member within a fifteen minute period. There was the strong YES to my babysitting request. Each succeeding email brought some new suggestions of additional acts of charity that this family member could preform for me. Some of them were off the wall and would require a great deal of prep work from me-- the girl with a hugely pregnant body who can barely haul herself off of the couch by 3:00 PM in the afternoon.
As usual, whenever my brain is in a whirl, I sought clarity from my husband. (My Jon was put on earth by Jesus as my personal "Guide to the Perplexed.")
I explained to Jon all the problems associated with accepting random charity act #13, when Jon stopped me mid-sentence.
"You don't need to do anything. Your family member is panicked at the thought of you having another baby and is running around like a chicken with her head cut off. She's throwing out a lot of useless suggestions. You don't need to follow any of them. Your job is to keep her focused.
There is one task that this family member can preform that will make our lives 100% easier. We need an overnight babysitter. Just keep reminding this family member there is only one thing that we really need. If she helps us with this babysitting job, she's already doing her part!"
I laughed and took his advice. The stream of random emails gradually came to a close.
Today, I had some time alone while riding the bus after my OB appointment. I thought about this situation and realize that I've got a similar tendency, especially in my relationship to Jesus.
Right now, Jesus has given me one task: Grow A Baby.
Yet all last week I felt miserable because my tired pregnant body "wasn't letting me" cook dinner, or clean up toys, or chat with my husband after 9:30 PM. I'm like the girl giving out endless suggestions to God via email. "Oh, so you want me to Grow A Baby. Sure I'll do that, but why don't I also bake my family fresh banana bread today, prewash all the baby clothes and start First Communion Prep with my son a full year early."
The Abby/Jesus conversation gets even more funny when I start to complain that my pregnant body won't let me "pray."
"Jesus, pregnancy stinks!" I tell him. "Because of my pregnancy, I now sleep through Morning Prayer. I've missed adhering to my regular Confession schedule. I'm 6 chapters behind in my Carmelite reading and I haven't visited you in Adoration in forever!"
I could just picture Jesus giving me the same advice. "Adoration? Abby, I don't need to see you at Adoration this week! You're busy growing a me a new baby.
Abby, Abby, I'm giving you one project for God. Grow a Baby. One task. It's the most important thing you can do for me and for the kingdom of heaven. Stay FOCUSED! All those long prayer sessions, your multiple household tasks, your knitted sock for lepers-- none of those are necessary acts of love right now. I'm asking you to do ONE thing for me."
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, pray for me. Keep me focused.