Thursday, April 13, 2017

Living at the Core 2: The Eucharist

On this Holy Thursday, I ponder with gratitude on the great gift of the Eucharist, the source and summit of our Catholic faith. The Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary that we meditate on each Thursday culminate in the Institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. On Holy Thursday we have the opportunity to deeply ponder the Last Supper as a community.

A little over 4 years ago my husband and I had a big decision to make. We were trying to decide whether to stay in the community where we had lived for 7 years or to move back closer to family. In my mind, the decision was between continuing to teach in K-12 education and teacher education for me and between access to dual language education for my girls and being closer to family. 

We had originally moved away from family as I started my teaching career because I wanted to teach and have my girls grow up with access to bilingual education. Eventually, I started teaching at a dual language school the same year that my oldest started kindergarten. It was the dream school both as a professional and a parent. It aligned to my philosophy and there was a special sense of community, both with colleagues and families. 

Whether or not to move was one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make in my life, so I prayed frequently that if it was better for our family in the big picture that we move back closer to home that everything would work out. I let go, and I trusted. Step by step different layers clicked into place. We were back with family, and I transitioned into my role as a teacher educator. 

Nonetheless, a couple of years into the process I still felt those emotional tugs to the community I left behind. In that particular spring I was traveling back there three times in a short period of time for work. As I would approach the community, the memories and tears would come. Facebook posts from my colleagues would have the same effect. There were also the comments the girls would make about missing their school. I was still feeling unsettled. 

Somewhere in between these multiple travels back and forth with physical reminders of both of those worlds and attempts to reconcile my feelings, the bigger picture came into focus as I kneeled down in prayer before Mass. 

At that moment, I realized that the big picture I prayed about was never as simple as whether I would be a K-12 educator or teacher educator. It wasn't even whether bilingual education or being closer to family was a higher priority. Instead, it was about being in a context in which I could more fully live my Catholic faith, a variable that I had not even taken into consideration as a predominant factor to guide my decision making process. I was in awe with just how necessary it was to pray for God to guide the process with the big picture in mind, recognizing that there were so many layers beyond what were predominant in my thought process. I was especially surprised that such a big piece to the puzzle would not be revealed to me until around two years after we made the decision and followed through with the move.

At the point where I had this realization, there had already been some shifts in the rhythms and routines of my days leading me closer to the core of my faith. In that month I recognized that attending daily Mass was possible now in the mix of life in my mid-thirties as a busy mom and professional. It was not something that would have to wait for retirement as I originally thought. 

Prioritizing daily Mass and weekly Adoration has made all the difference. While I still need to focus on trusting more and worrying less and life still feels plenty messy, it has brought a sense of calm and peace when comparing before and after - the difference between feeling like I am drowning by Thursdays and feeling like I am catching my breath and everything will be okay on Thursdays. Over time I have realized that the Eucharist is my most powerful form of self-care

This Holy Thursday, I am reflecting on the great gift of the Eucharist and my Catholic faith. 

I love songs like those on Audrey Assad's Inheritance album for reflecting on the glory of God. 

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