Carol Kelly // Tales From the Trenches


August 13  

Reluctantly, I approach the sink to finish the dishes, ninety percent of which my children completed. (Of course, the ten percent left unfinished happens to be the grossest part). A print of the famous Angelus painting greets me. If even for a brief moment, I utter a prayer of thanksgiving that we had nutritious food with which to dirty these dishes.

Unwillingly, I near the laundry area to run a load of laundry after putting it off for way too long—another task that I cannot wait to delegate to my progeny someday. A crucifix in the hallway calls me back to what is most important: that Jesus Christ made this sacrifice for us. Laundry is not such a huge deal. Thankful again, this time that we have a working washing machine. 

I sit in traffic, stuck in front of a reckless driver who is itching to pass me, only to get stuck in the same traffic in which I’m stuck. A rosary in the car reminds me that I can easily call on Our Lady to guide me through navigating the crazy drivers and ridiculous traffic.

Last summer, I painted a quote from Mother Teresa on wood panels: “Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put in that action.” They are on my bathroom wall, so I see them first thing in the morning when I try to motivate and get myself right with Jesus before the day; I see them also at the end of the day when I only seem to have energy to plop down and go to sleep. 

These are just a few things that have served as reminders not only for myself, but also for my family. These reminders are some of what God has given us in his created world that help bring us back to him. The reminders might be visual, such as those I’ve mentioned, or they could be audio, like Catholic radio programs, streamed Rosary, or prayers. The reminders might also be edifying conversations with friends that give us needed encouragement in our struggles.  

I was reminded recently that we are not meant to be islands, that Satan has a field day with those who have no encouraging community. These many visual, audio, and personal reminders keep us going on a daily basis until we have the opportunity to receive the sacraments and meet with those who would bring us the needed encouragement in the daily grind. For some people, religious jewelry serves as another good reminder. One doesn’t need to be a “Catholic Mr. T” with lots of ostentatious jewelry or even to have in-your-face decorations in one’s home, but having reminders in places where we might be tempted to become discouraged endears us to God and helps us to be like him.

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