“The Gospel purifies and renews: it bears fruit wherever the community of believers hears and welcomes the grace of God in truth and lives in charity. This is my faith; this is my joy.”
Pope Benedict XVI
As I have hunkered down with my family these past few days, I’ve taken an hour or two each day to go through a drawer or a cabinet and clean out the excess. Searching through one box, I found a little notebook that I used to carry around. I think for about 2 weeks I told myself that I was going to journal and capture all sorts of profound wisdom that centuries from now historians would pore over. The four entries in the notebook were lacking for wisdom, but I was struck, especially given these present times, by a frustration I articulated years ago. I lamented then about how my schedule was preventing me from being the father, husband, son, friend, etc I wanted to be. The burdens of my travel and demands on my time have only increased since then and honestly, the journal entry could’ve easily been written two weeks ago with even more frustration then I had four years ago.
What struck me wasn’t my poetic words, but rather the fact that in these past few days and in the foreseeable days ahead, I have had this chance to simply be present in the moment. Right now, I can take an hour, forget about cleaning the cabinet, and instead be the dad that sits on the floor and builds legos with his son. I don’t have to rush past my wife on the way to transport someone to something. I can stop and give her a hug just because I love her. I can take 15 minutes and check in with my sister in Iowa or that friend I’ve kept meaning to call. I can turn off the news and turn to my 12 year old and really listen to how she’s anxious about her school work and her friends. The question isn’t what I can do in these days of sheltering down. The question is who do I get to be? Who does God want me to be? Without the noise of normal life, can I now possibly listen for the answer? Who do you get to be this week?