Human Dignity · Motherhood

The Little Way of Motherhood

Little Way of Motherhood (EM Post)

“Everyone who breathes high and low, educated and ignorant, young and old, man and woman, has a mission, has a work.  We are not sent into this world for nothing; we are not born at random; we are not here, that we may go to bed at night and get up in the morning, toil for our bread, eat and drink, laugh and joke, sin when we have a mind and reform when we are tired of sinning, rear a family and die.  

God sees every one of us; He creates every soul for a purpose.  He needs, He deigns to need every one of us.  He has an end for each of us; we are all equal in His sight and we are placed in our different ranks and stations, not to get what we can out of them for ourselves, but to labor in them for Him.  As Christ has His work, we too have ours; as He rejoiced to do His work, we must rejoice in ours also.” 

-St. John Neumann-

Wearying doesn’t begin to describe it sometimes, this task of motherhood. Most days I’m far from rejoicing in it. I grumble and stagger through it, complaining either in my thoughts and often out loud how unjust my lot is. That this work is so tedious, so unappreciated. And then in a characteristic fit of mania I spin around and am tempted to feel as though the work is nothing. I should be doing some grand and glorious thing with this life, something important!

It has always overwhelmed me the amount of people that have existed in the past, exist now and will exist in the future. Maybe it’s some sort of repercussion from being a part of a large family, I don’t know. But that God cares about each and every one of these trillions of people? That each one of them has a story? That each unique life is just as important as mine and has a role to play? It blows my mind. But God is like that. All mind-blowing and such. While we are limited in our capacity to love uniquely, He is not. I can’t wrap my head around it and yet I choose to believe it. To trust that God is God.

In the last few years He’s shown me even more. He has opened my eyes to see that yes, His capacity to love is infinite. But if that weren’t enough, His capacity to care even about the little things…you know what? That is infinite as well. Because God is God. We are told that our little decisions don’t matter, that the tedium of everyday chores are just moments necessary to get to the really important things. God only cares about those big things and doesn’t have time for these silly little things with which we busy ourselves. We even hear it from people of faith, right? As long as you’re not doing something gravely wrong, God doesn’t really care. Don’t we realize that when we think this way we limit God?

It is not beyond His capacity to care about how we make decisions and even the decision that we make. They are important to Him because He gave us this vocation to learn how to love. That love, that real and true sacrificial love is manifested in the little ways. His concern for even the littlest parts of our vocation is limitless. And our response to that concern? That response has the ability to show our love and devotion back to Him.

I’ve heard it said that as long as it doesn’t specifically appear in the Catechism or in Scripture that God doesn’t really care about it. I disagree. Our God is infinite and He cares infinitely about each and every beloved eternal soul He has created. Those moments matter. Those moments that test and try us. Those decisions that keep us awake at night. The ones that spark “mommy wars.” The tangible ways in which we show our husbands and children our love and devotion. They are important. St. Therese and her “little way” show us the importance of these tiny decisions of love. The wiping of bottoms, the making of lunch, the reading of the storybook, the eternal sweeping of the floor, the nursing of the babe back to sleep at night, the doldrum of going to a lackluster job day after day. They are our work and we must strive to rejoice in it for it is His will, His call for our life. Goodness, that all of these little things, these little decisions, these little chores mean nothing in the grand scheme of life? That worldview is incredibly depressing. If it doesn’t matter then for heaven’s sake, I give up. I’ll get by on mediocrity, thank you. But our Lord DOES care. That is what I will choose to believe anyway. My desire to please Him in even the smallest of tasks of this vocation is pleasing to Him. They are ways in which I can love Him and the ones He has given me.

I am far from doing this, mind you. Ridiculously far. But I want to and I admit I need to so perhaps that is a valid beginning. This task of motherhood is so important. Don’t ever believe it’s not. And the work we do? That work is so important to Him, too. We may not see it now and we may be told (or desire) to believe that it doesn’t matter to Him how we do things. But don’t buy it. Your work matters. He cares about your decisions no matter what your vocation and He cares about the ways in which your love for Him is manifested in your specific situation. May you always know that your work, however humble the task, is filled with dignity and worth and may we all do our best to rejoice in that work for love of Him.

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