Yesterday, I was able to spend some down time with a few of my former students. I’m sponsoring one of them for Confirmation this year, and we had a short retreat day at their parish; so a good amount of my other kids were there, too. Yesterday compelled me to finish a post that’s been sitting in my drafts folder ever since I substitute taught a few weeks ago. Yesterday, I realized that some of my thoughts may be your thoughts, too, and that you might appreciate some solidarity. Yesterday, then, I decided to finish this post that I formerly deemed insignificant (and may be! who knows? you do!).
A little bit ago, I wrote this post about how, throughout our lives, God brings from one good calling to another. Sometimes, we have to leave a good mission behind to embark on an even better one. I’ve been experiencing this reality as I’ve made the transition from being a teacher to a mom, a mom who stays home. Like I mentioned in the post, it’s been a rough transition, but an awesome one, and I’m more than grateful to be where I am now. Wouldn’t trade it, n0t one bit.
But I noticed something, while I was substitute teaching for a couple of days, that at first made me uneasy: being in the classroom is so comfortable for me. It was like riding a bike, y’all. I just settled back in and it was comfortable. I knew what I was doing, I was confident, and I was worry-free. I loved every minute of it.
I felt a knot in my stomach, then, when I thought about my current call: motherhood. Because motherhood? It’s uncomfortable for me.
When it comes to being a mom, I have no idea what I’m doing, I’m not always confident, and I worry. A lot.
I began to dive into this concept of motherhood being uncomfortable, and I searched for exact reasons why this calling stretches me. It’s uncomfortable because it’s bigger than anything I’ve ever done. We are responsible for molding and shaping a human life, a human soul. Dwelling on the enormity of that can be overwhelming. It’s uncomfortable because it requires an entirely different skill set than I naturally have. I’m an only child, so I didn’t grow up with younger siblings or with nieces and nephews. Babies aren’t in my blood stream. I’m on a constant learning curve and, while much of motherhood comes natural (thanks, instincts!), there are so many domestic attributes that I lack (seriously, Dave can sew better than I can). It’s uncomfortable because I don’t get to see immediate fruits. Hopefully one day, when George is grown and crushing his own mission, I’ll be able to smile and see how these seemingly insignificant days shaped the marvelous person he is. But for now, I don’t get much instant gratification.
As I reflected upon why this new calling of motherhood is uncomfortable for me, a quote from Pope Benedict XVI came to mind: “… you were not made for comfort, you were made for greatness.”
When I look back on my life, my greatest moments of growth and victory were in the midst of circumstances that were uncomfortable. The greatness in my life has been born of situations that were bigger than anything I’d ever done, that required an entirely different skill set than I had previously, and that lacked the gratification of seeing instant results.
Why, then, would this be any different?
It is good that motherhood is uncomfortable for me because it’s teaching me about virtue in a new way. It is good because it forces me to rely even more desperately on the Lord and His grace. It is good because it’s making me grow as a person, wife, and mom. It is good because it is teaching me to set my own wants and needs aside. It is good because God meets me in the middle of the messiness, in the midst of my learning curve, in the confounds of my cluelessness. It is good because it is exactly where I am meant to be.
As much as I love that which is comfortable, that which is known well by me, I am choosing to wholeheartedly embrace that which is uncomfortable, because it will be my greatness.
Have you ever responded to a calling that was uncomfortable for you? What was the fruit you eventually saw? How did you pursue greatness through the stretching?