Most of us have experienced starting a new job, a hobby, or a home fix-it project with abundant energy and enthusiasm. Whether it’s something we’ve been trying to get to for some time or simply fun, once we’ve gathered the materials and checked the plan, we’re more than eager to work through the steps quickly. Even snags don’t get us down when we’re in that mode. It’s as if we have a heightened awareness of how to proceed. And once we have learned a skill, we can pace ourselves and stay focused.
“We’ve got this,” I often say, as if we were going on a long camping trip. Unfortunately, life can feel like that one camping trip when we forgot the tent stakes, we stopped too late in the day to set up camp properly, the seven kids were way too hungry, we hadn’t tested the oil lamp ahead of time, and it looked like rain was imminent. Between the questions and the tempers and trying to keep track of everyone, the first evening of the three-week, cross-country trip did not auger well.
Despite my best intentions to keep an upbeat attitude, some days, ordinary life can feel more like that memorable camping trip. This week, as I’ve thought over the challenges of family life, I’ve thought through those times that were difficult throughout my life and tried to remember what helped me to get through them with joy.
Always, I have needed to remember to keep my face turned toward the Lord, and then I needed to think about ways to love and serve from my heart. It was with joy, then, that I saw the Gospel for today: You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.