|Thanks to Rick for the inspiration and the pic!|
Monday was the first day back to school for many. I find it interesting that we also received more rain on Monday than we have in the last several months combined. However, I’m doubtful that it was actually rain. I’m leaning toward it simply being all of the mommas’ tears falling down after dropping their babies off at school. All grade levels included here, but to pre-K, kinder, and all freshman (high school and college) mommies…thank you for the extra rain. We needed it!
Of course, I guess some parents were really crying tears of joy as they dropped off their offspring. Relentless picking on siblings, obnoxious behavior, and wall-climbing have been known to occur during hot summer days. Who knows? Anyhow…I digress!
Facebook was loaded with classic back-to-school pictures. Most of the children were eagerly smiling (surely the grins weren’t forced…”Smile – or else!” Ha!). Many had their eyes closed because they were actually still sleeping. And, some were pouting because they weren’t interested in a photo shoot before sunrise.
Whatever the case, most folks were up early and had butterflies in their tummies. There were new backpacks full of school supplies, new shoes, socks, and clothes. All the lunchboxes were sealed with love and their mommy’s note tucked neatly inside. Many kiddos had fresh haircuts or new dos and so many had grown taller by an inch or two or ten. And, it appeared that the tooth fairy was also very busy this summer! Whew!
As my friend, Rick, posted on facebook: “From birth to high school graduation, children are with their parents for about 934 weeks. By 2nd grade, only about 500 weeks remain. Time moves fast. God gives them to us for a lifetime but only in our homes for so long. Seize the day!” He and his son had recently attended a church retreat for second graders and the opening illustration was two jars – one with 934 marbles and the other with how many marbles (weeks) remain until high school is over. Yikes!
One of his friends commented, “Seize the day with our children, our grandchildren, our parents, our spouses, our friends! We could have jars for them all, but we don't know how many marbles would be in any of them. That should make us be more attentive than ever!” (Love it!)
Then, there were some humorous responses to his post that I also enjoyed. “In today’s age, kids may stay at home after college, so that 934 is trending up!” And another one was, “But then we get grandparent jars, right?!” (hee hee – Amen to that!)
Along with all of the back-to-school buzz on facebook, there was another tell-tale sign that school was starting for us. The church pews. They were much fuller on Sunday and it was awesome. Maybe some were there to pray they’d get a good teacher (or students) or maybe they prayed that schools banned homework. Whatever the reason, it was wonderful to see everyone back from vacation! The Spirit that pulsed through that church gave me just what I needed to start my week!
In addition to the glorious music during Mass, Father Casey’s words really hit home with me. But first, I’d like to share a quick story of his:
“During Mass one day, a priest asked his parish family, ‘Whoever wants to go to heaven one day, please stand.’ Of course, everyone stood. Then, he asked, ‘Whoever wants to go to hell one day, please stand.’ Of course, no one stood. Except for ole Jake in the back. Standing at the altar, the priest called out to him, ‘Jake, are you telling me that you want to go to hell?’ ‘No, Father,’ Jake said, ‘I just hate to see you standing all by yourself.’”
All funnies aside, Father Casey had some great reminders of how we should live a life that will lead us to heaven. He said that the devil loves to whisper, “There is no rush to offer love. There is plenty of time to forgive. No hurry. No hurry at all.”
Of course, after looking at Rick’s marble example, it is obvious that time is a thief. We should be ready for God at all times. Our time does in fact…run out. As Janel Esker states, “I don’t think that means being hyper-alert, expecting God to pounce from around the next corner. Instead, I think it’s being like the mother of a teenager; able to rest (with one eye open), but with a highly tuned intuition about her child’s feelings and needs.”
Esker goes on to say, “We don’t know the exact moment we’ll meet God next and we don’t know the exact time God will call us home. But, we can prepare ourselves for those moments by nurturing our prayer life, refusing to let wounds fester, seeking forgiveness, and living each day out of gratitude.”
We truly don’t know how many marbles are left in our jar, our children’s jar, our parent’s jar, our friends’ jars or our family’s. In order to stay vigilant and make the most of the marbles we have left, maybe we needn’t look further than our children’s school supply list:
1) Glue – to remind us to stick together and be there for each other.
2) Pencils – to be sharp and ever alert, for we know not when our time on earth is over.
3) Scissors – to cut through old grudges and chains of regret, anger, hatred, and guilt to loosen the grip that they have on us.
4) Erasers – to remind us that we all make mistakes and that Jesus can forgive us, so we can start anew.
5) Markers – to help us leave a lasting mark in this world by being a true Christian who does the right thing even when no one is watching.
6) Notebook paper – to write down all the blessings we have to be thankful for each day and then read them often.
7) Highlighters – to highlight the areas in our life that could use improvement through prayer and God’s guidance.
8) Tissues – to wipe away our tears or someone else’s when true forgiveness takes place.
9) Crayons – to bring color to a sometimes dreary world by brightening our corner with hope, faith, love, peace, and joy.
10) Folders – so that we can organize our life in such a way that our priorities are in the right order.
That’s all for this week, Sunshines. Use those marbles wisely and have a wonderful first week of school! Students…be brave, be kind, be grateful, and always give your best!