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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Keep on Keepin' On

A couple of weeks ago, my husband took the kids over to Nanny and Popo’s and left me at home to finish up some projects that I really didn’t need my three “helpers” for.  I also had about five loads of laundry to wash, dry and fold.

So, while folding laundry on the couch, I grabbed something that I NEVER get when the family is home.  No, silly, not a “stiff drink”…the remote.  It was powerful and slightly foreign in my grasp.

Feeling a bit awkward with a remote in my hand, I clumsily (but quickly) channel-surfed right past all of those cartoon and sports channels.  Then, as my surfing momentum picked up, I heard a lady talking about mommies and exercise.  I tuned in.  She was a mom who had developed an exercise program just for other moms.  Her program touted exercise segments of only ten or twenty minutes and focused on all the areas that, um, change, when you have a baby.

I’ve NEVER ordered anything off of TV with a “call in the next ten seconds” line of ballyhoo.  But, for some strange reason, that day seemed like a great day to fall for it.  After all, it was ONLY $9.99, right?

So, I called for the special once-in-my-ever-lovin’-lifetime-price.  On the other end of the line was a very pleasant…computer.  I wondered how this “conversation” would transpire.  Everything went pretty smoothly at first.  Then, “she” got persistent.

“The $9.99 price is for VHS videos.  If you would like DVDs, there will be an additional charge of $2.98.  Please press 1 if you would like this option.”  I pressed 1 (and calculated my new special price).  “Would you like to have these shipped today?  Press 1 for yes and 2 for no.”  I pressed 2.  I’ve been a mom for over 8 years.  Certainly, I can wait a few more days to get my mommy work-out DVDs, right?

She continued her barrage of questioning.  “Most costumers purchase a fat-burning pill with this program to boost their results.  Press 1 to order and press 2 to decline.”  I pressed 2.  “Are you sure?  Customers are highly satisfied with this product.  Press 1 to accept and 2 to decline.”  I pressed 2.  (Grumble, grumble – I hope this is the last question…)

“We also have a top-rated wrinkle cream, a DVD upgrade program and a shopping rewards card.  Press 1 to accept and 2 to decline.”  I pressed 2 and practiced my deep breathing exercises.  “Are you sure?”  (Grrrr…..)  “I will now be transferring you to another operator who has nothing to do with our program because…YOU HAVE WON A TRIP TO THE BAHAMAS!”  You’ve got to be kidding me, I thought to myself.  I hung up.

Okay, so I never actually got my “total” and I’m not even certain that I actually ordered the DVDs.  BUT, what I DID learn was a lesson in perseverance (and patience).  I know “she” was a computer, but she never gave up.  NEVER.  GAVE.  UP.  This case of persistence was kinda negative, but there are cases in which persistence is a positive trait.

For starters, there is a cute little story that our priest, Fr. Gabriel, shared about perseverance and determination:

A momma duck waddled into a feed store
looking for food for her hungry ducklings.
 “Have any duck feed?” she asked.
 “No, we don’t carry duck feed here,” replied the clerk. 
The momma waddled off and returned the next day.
 “Have any duck feed?”  she inquired.
 “No, we don’t have a great demand for that, so we don’t carry it.” 
She left and returned the next day.  “Have any duck feed?” she asked again.
 “Look, little duckie, if you come back asking for duck feed,
I’ll tape your beak together!”
The momma duck returned again the next day.
 “Have any tape?”
“No,” replied the clerk, confused.
“Then, do you have any duck feed?” asked the momma duck, with a smile.

Persistence.  Perseverance.  Determination.  Sometimes it’s so hard to keep on keepin’ on, isn’t it?  Kids don’t seem to have as much of a problem with it, though.  My middle daughter will spend countless hours filling in every last hole on her Lite Brite.  My son will not stop casting his line until he reels in something – anything.  My youngest insists that she can put on her clothes all by herself and will not stop trying until she’s dressed.

Perseverance in prayer is probably one of the best qualities we could possess.  A priest once told me about a scientific study that looked at two groups of hospitalized patients.  Both groups had similar ailments.  The difference was that one group was being prayed for and the other was not.  The patients didn’t know they were being prayed for.  And, guess what?  Not surprisingly, the group being prayed for got better much quicker than the group without the prayers.  Prayer works and now it’s scientifically proven – woo-hoo!

A little more about determination - the other day I ran across an e-mail that said B.I.B.L.E stood for “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.”  I thought that was clever and shared it with my middle daughter.  She said, “So, I have to read this whole book before I leave this earth?  Oooh – I better get going.  There’s a lot of words in here.”

Personally, I think that willingness to pray can even be a prayer itself.  We may not have the perfect words or meditations, but I don’t think God minds.  And what about all those “unanswered prayers?”  What if He doesn’t answer our prayer because He wants to give us something greater than what we asked for?  We’ve got to keep on keepin’ on with prayer.

Prayer can be tough when there are distractions and there are so many as a mom, aren’t there?  Sometimes, it’s hard to pray when we feel like the girl in Laura Numeroff’s books (If you give a pig a pancake…If you give a mouse a cookie…).  That poor gal gets so wiped out with all of the shenanigans of that mouse, pig, moose and cat – whew!  Moms are pulled in all directions and have to jump from one thing to the next with ease (well, we try). 

The other day I noticed my daughter’s nails were longer than mine, so I headed to the bathroom to cut them for her.  Then, on the way, I grabbed a few more towels to add to the washing machine.  While I was in the laundry room, I realized I needed a couple more hangers to hang some shirts to dry.  When I went to my closet for the hangers, I saw that I was missing two pairs of shoes.  My daughter told me she hid them in my bathroom drawers.  When I went to hunt for the shoes, I remembered that I was supposed to be cutting my daughter’s fingernails.  Sound familiar?

Distractions – there are so many, aren’t there?  We have to keep pulling ourselves back to prayer.  The simple act of pulling ourselves back (again and again) might just be a prayer too, because we realize the need for it.  Prayer isn’t a “spare wheel” to only be pulled out in times of trouble – it’s really more of a “steering wheel.” 

So, let’s keep on keepin’ on…just like my computer “friend” and Momma Duck.  We can do it – we really can!

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