Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Day I Almost Didn't Go to Mass

I'm going to tell you about how awesome my parish is and how much I appreciate all that everyone did today, but first I'm going to start at he beginning of my day when Patrick woke up at 6:05 and I was still trying to squeeze my eyes shut and steal a few more moments of sleep.

I woke up this morning and before I even realized what I was doing I found myself making excuses for why I couldn't take the kids to Mass (and because of Paul's work schedule right now, if I don't take the kids I don't get to go).  Was that a tickle in my throat?  It probably was.  Was I coming down with something?  Again?

Last week we did have the flu, but this was something that could remedied with my inhaler.  Which is when excuse #2 reared it's ugly head.  Could I do Mass with the three kids by myself if my asthma was acting up?  What if I felt faint again?  What if I actually fainted?  What if I fainted and the hospital tried to call Paul and he slept through it?

I was stretching, looking for reasons to not go.

And then I realized what I was doing and stopped myself.  No.  The default is that we go.  And no imaginary illness was going to change that.  We were going to Mass... even if it was a disaster like last time and I spent the entire time trying to hold on to the three unruly children who'd all chosen the same day to go completely insane.

So I got up and wrangled the babies into appropriately warm clothing and got them out the door and we hurriedly walked to our parish, while I worried that we were running late.  We got there just in time.  A woman who I recognized from last time smiled warmly at us and I hoped that this time I wouldn't be rushing past her on my way out with tears in my eyes.

We made our way towards a pew and Mae started to howl, so we retreated to the narthex.  Not a promising start.

Then a kindly older man came over and started to talk to her.  A few seconds later a friendly looking young woman emerged and came over and sat with us.  One of the ushers brought me a little headset and showed me how to use it so that I could hear Father over the ear piece.  Fifteen minutes into Mass Mae had slid across the stair case we were sitting on and was holding hands with her new friend, snuggled up to her side.  I was amazed.

She sat with us through Mass and Mae was happy to sit and hold her hand and admire her new friend's finger nail polish, and I was able to get Patrick to sleep.

As I sat there, and actually heard a good portion of Mass, I began to realize something.

I'm horrible at asking for help, and I'm nearly as bad at accepting it.  I guess in reality, it's a sort of pride that I struggle with.  I feel like I should be able to do everything I need to do, without asking for or accepting help.  I know that a large part of it is that I don't want to bother or impose on anyone else.

In some ways Mae's diagnosis has made it easier for me to ask for help.  I've come to realize that I can't do this entirely on my own and that that's okay.

Baby steps.  Accepting help can be humbling.  I find it incredibly difficult.  And yet I am so grateful for the kindness and help we received today.

I have a feeling I'm not going to be quite as nervous when we set out for Mass next week!


  1. Huzzah! That is EXACTLY what I prayed would happen when you blogged about how awful it was last week. Praise GOD that others stepped in to help you today, and that you were humble enough to accept!

  2. How wonderful! SO SO glad you had a good day.

  3. I just heard the other day that among Americans it's very typical to find it difficult to ask for help. We as a society pride ourselves on being independent. We emphasize independence as a sign of maturity. So of course many of us feel odd and awkward asking for help and being dependent on someone else. I recall when I was working for a large corporation, it was often emphasized to ask for help if you needed it. The corporate value was for the ompany/department/team to succeed, meaning getting a project done correctly and on schedule. So no one was diminished for needing help. In fact, there was a lot of affirmation for seeking help and getting a project done on schedule. Very freeing. Very positive work environment. Now I have no problem at all asking for help around the house or even out and about. People can be very generous and welcome the opportunity to help out if asked. Asking for help gives people the opportunity to practice charity, something people who are at church are more likely to be open to. And though that can be humbling for you, it is a great gift to them. It makes them feel great to have a chance to do good for someone without being repaid. Anyway, I hope you can overcome the reluctance to ask for help, since you can bring great joy to others by doing so. God bless. Bonnie

  4. What wonderful parishioners!!! I wish everyone was that helpful to families!

  5. I also have a hard time asking for help. You described exactly why I feel that way. I feel like I should be able to everything myself.

    Yesterday at Mass, I was once again in the Narthex with Peter and Therese. A friend came up beside me and whispered, "Can I hold Peter?" And Peter snuggled into his shoulder and stayed there for a few minutes before wanting to be back in my arms. It was so nice for someone to come up and do that.


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