I went to Mass this morning with a heavy heart. Perhaps this may surprise you, but I’ve gotten to the point that, sometimes, parenting just isn’t any fun.
Not that I don’t love and appreciate my kids. I love and appreciate my kids. Really, I’d be lost without them. And I don’t want anybody to think that I have rotten kids, because they’re awesome kids. But sometimes…well sometimes the worries and responsibilities weigh me down. Way down.
Today I walked into Mass with the intention of begging our Lord to do something. Anything. Just lighten this load a bit (or a lot if he was feeling extra generous today). I was so happy to be there. I knew that listening to God’s Word and receiving the Eucharist would give me the strength I need to get through at least the next 24 hours. Considering my state of mind, 24 hours sounded like a good, long time.
I was delighted to find out that I was in excellent company. You see, the First Reading today is from Numbers 11:4b-15 and tells about Moses and the Israelites in the desert. The Israelites are giving Moses a hard time because he hasn’t been treating them the way they want to be treated. They’re griping up a storm because they’d prefer to be doing things their way.
And guess what? Moses isn’t too keen on his responsibilities, either. After getting an earful from the Israelites, Moses turns to God and gripes to him (one can only take so much griping before having to turn to somebody else and do some griping about having been griped at). Moses points the blame to God, reminding Him that He created this people, not Moses. He birthed them and brought them into this world, not Moses. God simply plopped them on Moses’ lap and expected him to carry them like a foster father.
Oh, this SO reminded me of myself! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gotten an earful from the kids for not treating them the way they wanted to be treated and for not letting them do things their own way, even if that “own way” was detrimental to their well-being. In exasperation, I’d gripe to God, letting Him know in no uncertain terms that it was HIS idea for me to have these kids, HE created them within my womb and HE brought them through birth and into this world, so what was HE going to do about it? On ocassion, I’ve been pushed past my limit and wondered why God gave these kids to me if I’m such an incapable parent. Really, I’d tell Him in an irrational fit of frustration, I’d rather not face this distress. Do away with me, then, and put somebody more capable in my place.
Listening to today’s First Reading, I was just smilin’ away inside. Had I been a Baptist or Evangelical I might have jumped up, waved my hands in the air and shouted, “Amen, brother! Amen!” The last line of the reading was by far the best. Moses, absolutely exasperated, tells God, “I cannot carry all this people by myself, for they are too heavy for me. If this is the way you will deal with me, then please do me the favor of killing me at once, so that I need no longer face this distress.”
I hear ya, Moses. I hear ya.