Our parish has a little courtyard beside the church. There is a square patch of grass with a few flowers and trees surrounded by a covered sidewalk, and a thin concrete curb separates the two spaces.
Each week before Mass, I walk outside with my youngest. We go back and forth, from the shady side to the sunny side and back again. We admire tiny flowers, watch birds soar and bugs crawl, avoid acorns, smile at other babies, and then turn around and do it again.
Her favorite place to walk is along the top edge of the curb. Her little dress-shoe-clad feet are just small enough to fit its width. She typically starts out slow, holding my hand briefly to gain balance, and then she takes off. She’ll go faster and faster, on her own, until she falters. Sometimes it’s just a brief unsteadiness, and she can easily right herself and continue. And sometimes, she completely falls off, and there’s a bit of a scrape and maybe even some tears. After a hug or a helping hand, she gets back on the line and carries on.
Over and over again, she persists. Until the Mass bell rings out, and in her tiny dress shoes, she skips up the steps into church.
As we enter mid-January, the month where we set grand intentions, we’re likely going to find ourselves faltering in our resolutions as life picks up speed. The intentions that seemed reasonable when created during a break with the excitement of a new year become more challenging with school, and work, and regular life starting up again. Normal life challenges our resolutions and our resolve. We will fall—often a little, sometimes a lot, and every so often there’s tears.
As I watched my daughter recently, I noticed she was most sure-footed when she kept her feet directly in the middle, kept a steady pace, and watched where she was headed. Success in walking the line came with a constant taking of the next step and staying in the center.
Just like motherhood.
So, fellow moms, aim for the middle and keep a steady pace. Grand resolutions alone can mean little progress and a harder fall. Maintaining laundry, meals, homework, and prayers is enough in some seasons. Your consistency in doing “small things with great love” will bear fruit in the end.
Focus your gaze on where you’re headed. Remember the ultimate goal—heaven, and that we want our family and friends to come with us, too. If you fall, grab a helping hand. And if you’re able, offer a hand when you can. Dust yourself off and begin again. We are blessed that we are given so many opportunities to start anew!
And when you need a break from taking yet another step or trying to keep everything balanced, head into church—whether you have on fancy dress shoes or not.