Years ago, I thought of making homemade eclairs for her feast, but as I looked at recipes, I became terrified. But, a few weeks ago, I saw an attractive cookbook displayed at the library-a book all about eclairs. Coincidence? I think not.
[Yes, I know that technically, the Sunday liturgy took precedence over celebrating her feast liturgically this year, but it's still a good excuse to make eclairs!]
The eclairs that I made this afternoon were definitely imperfect (my piping was not exact by a long shot) and messy (I kind of slopped glaze all over them, and then started eating before the glaze had dried), but they were also delicious.
As I looked over our tray of eclairs (which were quickly disappearing), I thought about life lately. How just like these eclairs, my life is not without imperfections. I sin, I struggle, I have problems, and I deal with inconveniences continually. My life is messy in the literal sense (#toddlerlife), but also in the sense that
I think it's important to cultivate hope. To remember that God is in control, and that He is using us for His plans. To remember that no matter how bad things get, God will always care for us and guide us.
Today, after Mass, one of our friends came up to greet us and chat with our toddler. This friend of ours is incredibly joyful. The light of Christ just shines out from him, and when he greets you, he is fully present. Today, as he happily chatted with my son, I asked him how his family is doing (he is in Oklahoma as a student, but he's from Africa). He mentioned that they're doing well, and then tossed a comment that, oh, and there's civil unrest right now, families are being broken apart, and people are killing each other. He's told his family that they should not leave their house for the sake of their safety, and he stays up late every night so that he can call his family in the morning to check in and see how they're faring. Yet here I am in America, able to attend Mass with my husband and son, walk to the park, and enjoy a generally peaceful daily life. As my husband and I listened to our friend talk about the situation in Cameroon, I realized that I have no excuse.
Lately, I've been slacking off in different areas, and not getting in as much silent prayer time or going on runs as often as I should. I've been giving myself excuses of, oh, but I'm so tired after chasing after a toddler all day, or, can't I just be lazy for one week of my life? And so, I justify my lax attitude because life is just "so challenging" over here. No, it's really not.
Life has its challenges at times, but I can't lose perspective. There are tons of people undergoing difficulties and challenges and suffering that I cannot even fathom, and I need to get my act together and pray for these people and for world peace. Furthermore, I need to do my own part to promote peace in my nation, my church community, my neighborhood, my home. How can I better love and serve my family? How can I love my neighbors and build bridges of community and fellowship with them? These are the questions that we need to be asking ourselves more often.
Please send up a little prayer for the people of Cameroon, and for world peace. And get out there and do something to change things. Have your neighbors over for coffee, talk with that quiet mom whose standing by herself in the library, greet the dad pushing his child on the swings at the playground. Get outside of your comfort zone and do something.