Then in 2009, we watched it all but slip away. A long lay-off forced us to look at things. Prioritize. Scrutinize our wants, focus on true needs. It was hard. God showed us, shoved us into a different life. We were humbled. We took off the rose colored glasses and saw the world through a different lens. You can read through my archives from this time, you'll get the gist.
We can honestly say, we're thankful. We're different now. Our family and close friends see it. Our Catholic faith before that was practiced in the periphery. We went to Mass on Sunday's, when we were up on time. We said grace before meals, we had prayer lives, but if you entered our home, you'd think we were just any mainstream American family. Faith wasn't that apparent.
Both Scott and I were raised Catholic. Both of our moms are converts, not that it really matters. We both grew up going to Mass every Sunday, had made our Sacraments. I volunteered in a few church programs, and youth group. We were married in the Church. But, if you asked either of us about encyclicals or Eucharistic Adoration, we would have looked at you blank faced.
During this time, we began to feel convicted to begin homeschooling our kids. I was seriously having conversations with God that were like "Oh no, not us. I'm not going to start wearing jean skirts, and never leaving my house!" It kept pressing, so I started reading, and sharing with Scott. We started praying about it, and asking for the graces to accomplish it (gasp)! We found support locally. We talked to a few of our homeschooling friends. We trusted.
It was also around this time that I found Sara's blogs, Walk Slowly Live Wildly and Happy Janssens. She was writing about small living, being more green, sustainability, compacting, unschooling, ordinary radicals. I loved it, and still do. These new lenses were pretty awesome. We started incorporating some changes.
So, I guess you can say that God stopped us on the road and put us on a whole different course. We had a reversion. It's been a few years now, and the "back on our feet" is still pretty fresh. We're definitely giving "living out our faith" a more serious go. We've made our home our "Domestic Church", we pray daily, we teach our kids the catechism, and the Saints, use sacramentals. If you come in our house now, you'll know we're Catholic.
Where am I going with this? Oh yeah, contentment. I feel like I'm always seeking it. I had a realization today. I don't need to seek the contentment, I need to seek Jesus. Duh. Which seems to be a cycle of thinking for me. I forget to ask God for help, and tend to have that "do myself" toddler mentality when it comes to the hard stuff. It's always the surrender thats the hardest, no?
I shared this article by Msgr. Charles Pope on Facebook yesterday, and it really struck me. It's an examination of Pope Leo XIII's encyclical from 1893 titled Laetitiae Sancte (of Holy Joy), about the distaste for a simple and laborious life, Repugnance to suffering of any kind, and Forgetfulness of the future life. It's spot on, he could have wrote it today.
It is so hard to keep the focus on Christ, when the world tells us different, tells you you're not good enough. I know we aren't struggling alone. This is where I am so thankful for the Sacraments, especially for the Eucharist. Confession is a close second.
So, here I am, here we are, finding contentment right here, right now. It WILL be okay.