Monday, January 3, 2011

FillHer Up

It's a new year. Did you make resolutions and all that jazz? I always do. I think we all do, even if it isn't specific. I think it must be programmed into our DNA to desire a fresh start at certain times in the changing year. I always laugh at the gym in the first week of the new year. It is packed, I am sure with people who are trying to make a fresh start, a healthier life, a slimmer physique. I laugh because I can compare it to the gym during, say Lent, when it is not so packed. These are the few times you will find me at the gym.

After many years of New Year and Lenten Resolutions, I have discovered something about myself. I am not very good at giving things up. I can last a week or so, then it is back to normal. This is in part due to the fact that I always set the bar way too high, then when I lapse, I give up completely. The Lenten resolution that worked best for me was to give up creamer in my coffee. It was a big sacrifice, though it sounds small. I got out of bed for my coffee creamer. It worked because I didn't give up the coffee. I just made it less enjoyable. Had I tried to give up the morning Joe, it would have lasted a couple days at best, instead it lasted all forty days. The funniest thing was it took away my desire for the creamer all together. I now drink my coffee black.

I have acquired a lot of bad habits this year of 2010. Oh, they are the same old bad habits, but they are so much worse. They seem close to engulfing my whole life. It has been a stressful year, and stress always makes me fall into those things which bring me temporary comfort. So my new years resolution is of course, to get rid of them. But I am not naive enough to believe that I can just whittle them away or cut them out with a carving knife. Not me, doesn't work for me.

Instead, I plan to fill my life so full of good things, there is no room for the bad, or at least the room left will become smaller and result in moderation, patience, peace.

Step number one is Daily Mass. Somewhere along the line of 2010, this good habit left. Not sure when, why or how, but that part of my day became a little more sleep followed by a harried morning. I am not an early bird under the best of circumstances, but when I get up when it is still dark and the house is quiet and go to mass, the morning goes better. Well, it probably goes the same, but I can handle it better.

Step number two: Use my time in the car line to pray a rosary. This is a completely new one that I just thought of. We have bribed the kids into getting a Wi (We are the only family for at least a gazillion miles that doesn't have one.) It requires thirty days of peace in our house hold to attain. I have divided each day into three parts: Morning, after school, and bed time. I bet you can guess why. I bet you can also guess why I might need a bit of a boost right before they get into the car.

Step number three: Evening prayer. We have a little prayer room in our house. I had great intentions when I set it up. It was for the kids and our family prayer. I have decided to use it for myself after dinner. I am not going to require that anyone join me. I tried this approach with daily mass during the days of Christmas before they went to school. I was going, they knew it, if they wanted to join me, they could. I never went alone. Maybe they will join me for some quiet time with God each evening before bed. And if not, that is okay, even if they don't feel they need it, I do.

So you see, I plan to try and fill myself up at regular intervals during the day. Rather than try and lessen the bad things: impatience, compulsiveness, immoderation; I am instead going to try and increase the good things. There have been times in my life when I considered the good things to be part of me: creativity, hospitality, moderation, being easy going. It has been a hard and humbling year. I am really not too impressed with myself. I want to be empty and have God fill me up. But I am too selfish to try the old way, they way of Paul and the Saints: empty so God can fill.

The goal is to be God filled, right? And there is only so much room, right? So if I just keep filling, maybe the bad will spill over and out. Instead of emptying the selfishness to make room for God, I will try and increase God so there is no room for the selfishness. I will let Him do the work for me this year. And then maybe next year, I will be ready to do some work for Him. I wish I could help Him more, but 2010 has drained me. He is a loving Father, and I think He will understand that in the year of our Lord Two Thousand and Eleven, I will make myself pull into the station, but it can not be a year of self-service. It is a year where I will ask again and again and again, "Please, Sir, Fill Her Up."

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