27 May 2008

Rudderless ship

Before my father passed away, I always thought that once he was gone I would be a spiritual rudderless ship. With the traditional Memorial Day, my father's birthday, approaching this Friday, and the eighth anniversary of his passing this Thursday (a few hours short of his birthday), I've been a little introspective this past week.

I've always been a lot like my dad. Many things got done just by the force of my will and one of my mottoes remains, "there's always more than one way to skin a cat." But, I kind of had an inkling that with my father removed from the front lines of my spiritual defenses, God was going to grab me by the neck and whip me into shape.

My father was a third order Carmelite, very knowledgeable about the Faith, great apologist and one smart cookie. Through no fault of my parents, I was poorly catechised. When my parents were kids, religious education was sound and kids learned their Faith. My generation, however, got dropped off at CCD only to sit around and sing foo-foo songs and do religious art projects. We were given nothing of the Faith and learned nothing. I was blessed to have my father (and mother) to provide an incredible example and to be my sounding board and religious text book. Whenever I had a religious question, I took it to dad. If he didn't know the answer, he'd track it down.

When my dad passed away, I felt like I had lost my mentor, my spiritual director. But, that wasn't quite all God had in store for me. I had been learning my faith on an intellectual level, text-book style. God was going to teach me a lesson about faith, humility and trust. It was time to set down my St. Thomas books and figuratively pick up the writings of St. Teresa of Avila or St. John of the Cross.

During the past five years, I have been turned upside down and removed from my comfort zone. Huge emotional and spiritual challenges, along with many blessings and miracles, came my way. I did learn to trust God, primarily through my father. I could always trust my father to have my best interests at heart, to want what was best for me, so when the chaos started in my life, I figured I would trust God as I trusted my earthly father. He did not disappoint.

Now, I feel like I'm at a cross-road, wondering what's next. I don't know if there is something more I should be doing aside from being a mom. Could be God working on that humility piece, since I seem to continually get the smack-down in that respect? For the past five years, I've felt like I have something to offer beyond being a mom, probably a remnant of feelings from my pre-mom days as an engineer, but that's MY will at work.

So, I keep praying that God will make things clear or at least gives me the grace to see what it is He has been trying to tell me. Many moms wear multiple hats -- active in things like their parish or school. I just don't know what my calling is, or even if it is to be beyond my own family. Maybe now is not the time. I just wish God would give me my marching orders. But, then again, my other motto is, "careful what you wish for."


RJW said...

My Dad's birthday was also on traditional Memorial Day. He would have been 92 this year. He was a permanent deacon and served at the altar until he was 90. He was a great example to all. One of my former priests use to say that "we just rise each day and die to the alarm clock". Every day is a new day of death and ressurection and waiting patiently to understand the will of God. I know of what you speak. God bless.

swissmiss said...

My dad would be 86.

Thanks for your comments. Lately I don't know if God is trying to teach me humility by removing me from everything I once knew and throwing me into the great unknown of motherhood. Motherhood certainly isn't bad, that isn't what I'm saying, just that I was good at working but knew nothing of being a mom. I still don't, and He has made me least in that respect!

Mairin :o) said...

I'm sorry for the hole the death of your Dad has created in your life/heart. I really dread when that day comes regarding my Dad.

Just remember, being a mom is the most important job you will ever have.

swissmiss said...

Actually, I took my dad's passing very well. We were very close, so I miss him, but I don't grieve for him nearly as much as I did my mom.

And, I agree that being a mom is the most important thing. I think it's what God is trying to teach me, along with the humility to be "a mom." By far, the hardest job I've had!

Anonymous said...

I used to be a "stay at home" mom--and my friends would say things like, "your just a mom?" I felt pressure from society to become a nurse--which I did. Looking back now, I wish I would have stayed a "stay at home mom." But, back then I was ignorant of God, and followed my own and the world's ways--being a mom is God's way--don't let the pressure of other's agendas interfere with your being the best mom.

Your dad sounds so marvelous--he sounds like the best dad--I feel your joy at being loved by him :)

swissmiss said...

Moms sometimes need to hear that doing what they are doing is plenty. Thanks. It's not so much that other's agendas are influencing me as I feel a bit restless, like I should be doing something more. Could just be that weird societal pressure after all!!

My father was a great father and I pray that God blesses him abundantly for the job he did. Now that I'm a mom, I really see the incredible insight he had into his job as "dad."