As mothers, we’ve all had the opportunity to serve. Not just volunteering as soccer-chauffeur or taking a meal to a sick friend.
I’m talking about the hard core, servile tasks that can put us in a head space with miserable old Job. Something in our collective genes marks it. We are part of the line of mothers from time immemorial. We share wakeful newborn nights when each nerve pings with exhaustion. Colic. Meals. Endless dirt. The 3 am February vigils when children toss with fever. It may be startling how often Job mirrors our thoughts:
Lying in bed I wonder, “When will it be day? No sooner up than, When will evening come?” And crazy thoughts obsess me till twilight falls.
How do we reconcile the tedium of daily service with our lives as mothers? Because at times we dare to think,
Who in their right mind would CHOOSE this?
In First Corinthians, Paul writes that his own service—of spreading the Gospel—is nothing to crow about, because it was not just his idea, but was borne of a heavenly impulse.
“If I did it on my own initiative, I would deserve a reward; but if I do it under compulsion, I am simply accepting a task entrusted to me. What reward do I have, then? That in my preaching I offer the gospel free of charge to avoid using the rights which the gospel allows me.”
In other words, Paul is reminding us that God has given us free will, and we can choose that freedom to serve him.
“So though I was not a slave to any human being, I put myself in slavery to all people, to win as many as I could.”
So, we’re not slaves, but we really are?
This is the kind of politically incorrect statement that weeds ‘em out. But as every mother knows, our deepest desire from the moment our children enter the world is their good. Their present, future, and eternal good, and we are gladly their “slaves” if it means they can be in heaven one day.
What if I’m still fed up?
Look at servant Jesus in the Gospel. Jesus, in the house of Simon and Andrew, spends an entire night curing the whole town of fevers and diseases, and casts out many devils. Then, In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house and went off to a lonely place and prayed there. Simon and his companions set out in search of him, and when they found him, they said, “Everybody is looking for you.”
This might just be a template for most of our mornings. Everybody is looking for you! But, like Jesus, you’ve prepared by spending a little time alone, praying in a lonely place—maybe the back porch, the car, or an early Mass if your husband can fill the cereal bowls.
Alone with Jesus, you can find the deep center of your joy as morning dawns, and his light spreads over all the world.