Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Swimming upstream

Lately I've been feeling like life would be so much easier if I were to just swim with the current. It would be easier to go along with "the norm" - do what everyone else seems to be doing. I could feed my kids goldfish crackers and cookies and cook lots of pasta and serve bread with dinner. I could send my kids to public school and hover over their homework in the afternoons before shuttling them off to some class or practice or activity. I could spend my mornings after they're gone sipping coffee and watching TV. I could simply agree with all the noisy cultural messages we hear - muddled ramblings about tolerance and to-each-his-own. I could skip church and stop worrying about why my prayer life falters or whether I should go to Reconciliation.

It would be a lot easier to simply stop caring and be "normal."

Don't get me wrong. I'm not bashing on people who eat crackers and bread, or who send their kids to any kind of school, or even who embrace the socially liberal messages of today. I'm not bashing on people who don't go to church or go to a different church than I do. This isn't about them; it's simply about me.

The current that is our culture, what is considered normal or typical, meanders on, flowing downhill in an endless torrent of ease. I feel like I'm always swimming upstream. I face little bits of criticism in so many of my decisions - whether it's how I feed my family, how I educate my children, what church I attend, or that I attend church at all and hold to my beliefs regardless of their seeming lack of popularity. I have my defenses up so much of the time, ready to explain my decisions, launch into all the "whys" to help people understand. Or at least convince people I'm not crazy.

I simply feel tired. Tired of feeling self conscious that I am called to do some things differently from many of the people around me. I'm not a rebel. I never have been. I don't do things differently for my family because I want to be different, or want to stand out. I just want to do what I think is right.

Sometimes that's hard.

I guess no one ever said it would be easy. To follow Christ is to take up His cross, isn't that what they say? Perhaps lately I'm feeling the weight of some very little crosses of my own. They are not so serious that I must give my life for them, at least not in death. But I do give my life to them in other ways; in staying true to what I believe and making the choices I feel God has led me to.

No, it isn't easy to swim against the current. But swim on I must. And I guess the thing to remember is that I'm not swimming alone. I'm in pretty good company.


Anonymous said...

You are not alone. I'm coming to this post rather late, but I've started following some Catholic Mom blogs because I'm tired of feeling like the only person trying to live my Catholic faith in it's fulness and not just cherry-pick the parts that please me.

Sometimes I would love to just stop strugling and "drink the koolaid", but the reason theres so much hate in the world (and the criticims you face are symptoms of a very hateful culture) is because too many people gave up.

Hang in there. I prayed for you, and for your critics.

Claire said...

Thank you! It is always good to know there are others who feel the same way. There is something nice about not being quite so alone (even when we know we're not, it is easy to feel that way sometimes).