Today I was observing my one-year-old daughter working with all of her might to fit a wooden puzzle piece into the wrong place.
Intent on her goal, she could not see the correct spot for the piece right next to the space that she was wrongly forcing her hand into. At that moment, I could see myself in my daughter’s insistence and stubborn force.
For how often do I place all of my energy into trying to fit my life into what I perceive as the “right spot” for myself or my family? How often do I fail to notice, because of my force of will, another, better option that God has placed right beside me? Struggling to fit my life into a preconceived place of happiness only causes frustration and even anger.
Finally I throw down the part of my life that just won’t fit, with an arrogant “never mind!” If it is not going to be what I want it to be, then it is not going to be at all.
My childish ideas of success…
In such moments of retrospection, I am somewhat ashamed of myself and my childish ideas of success.
Since God created each one of our lives to fit into the appropriate place in His Divine will, we will never achieve peace and joy until we hand over the pieces of our hearts to His guiding hand, just as my daughter allows me to guide her hand towards discovering where exactly the puzzle piece fits into the board.
If she does not permit me to help her, then the artwork will never be complete, and we will never have the pleasure of observing the beautiful object in its perfected state.
Did not Satan react to God with such vigor, in his “Non Serviam,” or “I will not Serve!” Do we follow this path of destruction when we refuse to give Our Lord His rightful domain over our lives?
Inspiration all around us
In opening our eyes, and widening our vision, we see that human objects allow us a glimpse into the divine workings of God.
When I welcome my sick children as an opportunity to grow in patience and love, I am accepting God’s will for my life. If my husband calls to say he will be home late and this disappoints my hopes for the evening, I am given another opportunity to practice self-mortification through my support of his situation.
For, if an inanimate object such as a puzzle causes me to stop and lift my heart to God in wonder, then what excuse do we have to ignore His face present in our daily lives? He is there, consoling us in countless areas, even when we are quite unaware of His presence.
As St. Teresa of Avila spoke to her fellow Sisters, concerning the incredibly detailed act of a silkworm developing into a butterfly, “This is enough, Sisters, for a period of meditation even though I may say no more to you; in it you can consider the wonders and wisdom of our God.”
No doubt, we have each experienced Christ’s grace in our lives coming to us often when we least expect it and are most in need. As St. Teresa reminds us, it is enough that we consider the wonder and wisdom of God in the minute details of our daily routines; enough, in the sense that we are able to grow in faith and love solely through the observation of God’s goodness at work in our lives.
The question always is, are we paying attention, and do we allow these insights to deepen our faith and trust in His divine will?
Our Unique Struggles
Each of us perhaps harbors internal ideas of what a meaningful life looks like.
Does it mean a dynamic career with great financial security? Or perhaps that my children will reflect well on me by pursuing prestigious academic goals?
Does it mean achieving great sanctity through heroic virtue? I don’t know about you, but my continual struggle is to offer the daily “Serviam” to Our Lord, committing my holiness and growth in virtue to the manner in which He intends that I grow.
Yes Lord, I will serve you in whatever state you call me to. Whether I am sick, poor, lonely, anxious, jealous, fatigued, or confused. I accept and embrace that cross in my life, and accept in particular the unique battles I will undergo to conquer my own pride and self-will.
Indeed, sometimes we are our own worst enemies, and our most difficult cross to bear is accepting the unique struggle that comes with our temperament.
When we notice, then, the wonder and wisdom of God in non-rational creation, we can further develop the ability to see the deeper, more exciting work of God present in our lives, our families, and our communities.
Perhaps we might pray daily for a deeper insight and appreciation for the grace at work guiding us to our place in the Divine Artwork.
We might implore Christ’s aid to be with us when we go astray, and to help us become a willing instrument in discerning our special call, despite the trials which may accompany it.