Thursday, May 13, 2010

Another Rundown

Life with a new baby can take some time getting used to. This week has been one of those transitions in our family as my wife headed back to work and I was home with three little ones. All of whom are in diapers. Now the diaper changing isn't so bad. Honestly. Well, some diapers are. Some I dream of mounting on my office wall, shellacked, to show off to visitors:"Now let me tell you the story about this one over here - flailing heels, the baby screaming ... crap everywhere." But for the most part the diaper changing is the least of a lonely stay-at-home parent's worries. It's everything else. It's being consumed by the needs of others. And while this is a good - being saved/deified through childbirth - it is, by definition, very difficult.

With Noah's entrance into our daily life, something strange happened in my brain. For weeks, every time I looked at him, I thought "Robert" instead of "Noah." Now we have never had any intention of naming a boy Robert - it was pure brain flatulence. But it was the strangest thing and took me nearly a month to get over. I also constantly referred to him as a her, which can probably be understood as we also just had a girl last January. He is sweet, however, even though he cries much of the time. Long story short, I'm getting older. It's really quite a miracle that I can still make babies. By the time Noah is my age, I will probably be dead. But I hope not.

By the way, we have officially become a large family. So our new 12-passenger van silently proclaims us. Yes, we are weird. Yes, we are different. People wonder at the size of our family when just half of us go somewhere. Our carbon footprint is bigger than yours. Officially, the oil SNAFU in the Gulf is our fault, our responsibility, and BP, Transocean and Halliburton might as well get their stories straight and start blaming us. (To be frank, you're responsible for that mess as well.)


We had friends surprise visit us on Saturday. These are people who speak peace into your soul, like an afternoon in the shade on a breezy pre-summer day. We are sad they couldn't stay longer. We are sad that they no longer live near us.


I want to be Catholic. Simply Catholic. I don't want to be an American Catholic. I don't want to be a traditionalist or a progressive. I don't want to be a neo-Cath or an Evangelical Catholic. I just want to be Catholic - part of Christ's Body, a lover of God and my neighbor. Not defined by my politics or my past, but liberated by Christ to be Catholic. Sacramental. Orthodox. Quiet. Who can show me the way? What does being Catholic mean? What does it look like?


kkollwitz said...

What a great post! I say that now that I am well into my second generation of diaper-changing: 2 grandchildren, 2 months,and 2.7 years old. Oh dear. But diaper-changing is the best example I know of doing God's work:

About 20 years ago I was in the midst of changing one of my babies' worst diapers on what was already a stressful day. While feeling put upon, disgusted, and resentful, I happened to glance up from the mess and looked straight into my baby son's eyes; he looked right back at me, and had the happiest little face, so content was he to be cared for and loved. And I had an epiphany: at that moment, could I have been doing anything more important than cleaning poop off his butt? No.

And thus I learned that doing God's work can be unpleasant, unskilled, unappreciated, humbling..... and liberating.

Little did I realize then that in a Catholic family, you never completely escape dirty diapers.

kkollwitz said...

What does being Catholic mean?

Uh-oh. I'm a Cradle Catholic...I don't think we ask ourselves this question.

What does it look like?

I bet it looks just like you.

kkollwitz said...

"It's being consumed by the needs of others. And while this is a good - being saved/deified through childbirth - it is, by definition, very difficult."

Yes, it is. I still want to tear my hair out over 4 of my 5 children. When do my wife & I get the chance to not dump our life energy into theirs, to rest? I don't know. But when I'm calm I'm thankful for them. What chance at heaven would I have otherwise?