Last week’s reading at Mass was about the widow’s mite. You know the parable: when the poor widow gives all she had at church. And how that offering is worth more, relatively, than the great riches offered by the wealthy man. So often the take away there is focused on how we should give til it hurts, financially. Encouraging us to generosity without fear. In some (questionable) speeches and books it’s portrayed as the sure formula to riches rebounding to you; based on the “God will return a hundredfold…” concept. Well. Yes. God will. But if you think that means that God will immediately return a literal hundred bucks into your wallet if you drop a dollar into the basket……then I will just have to disagree. And change the subject.
But, I have been mulling this over, all week. I need to sort the tiny threads that are floating about my tired busy distractible mind. Hearing this parable, again, I started to think about how I, and so many moms I know, are just overrun. I know, hard to see that connection to the widow’s mite. Hang with me.
In our insanely busy modern life, our insanely busy modern days are just slammed. And so many moms are just feeling that they can’t keep up and maybe, maybe, they are somehow failing a bit. Ok, just to be clear, I am now switching to all about me, me me. Because lately, my days are so slamming hectic and I pour out every single bit of energy I’ve got into the kids, the doing, the driving, the tending, the putting out fires, the driving, the soothing, the analyzing, the driving, the doing the doing the doing the doing. And then, every night, I fall into bed after 16-18+ hours of ninety to nothing……..and I feel like, maybe, I failed. Again. Like I gave it my all and fell short. Or, at least fumbled. I fumble it all. Every (literally) blessed day.Then my tunnel vision often kicks in. It’s all I can see. The fumbles and the task list. Then those two things can swiftly make up my entire sense of the day.
The list, that Hydra. It’s beating me. It’s just the same as that mythical monster, one head gets cut off, task finished, and another two spring up in it’s place. And sometimes I want to cry or cuss because I really feel like I’m giving my all. Everything I’ve got. And it’s not enough.
Or …is it?
Last week I went to confession. It’d been weeks and weeks since I’d been able to go due to soccer games and events and…the list! No time. Literally. The Hydra eating up my time. Hydra heads popping out all over, gaping maws open. Without confession, regularly, I get smudgy and start fumbling more and more. I cuss more and more. I feel overwhelmed. Which makes me cuss and get resentful.
So confession helped. It always always does, of course. It’s a balm. Peace. Breathing. Meeting with the priest, I started in on my other list: my fail list. We talked. The priest told me I had forgotten; I had forgotten that I was “dear to God.” That I could breathe. I was giving my ALL. I was giving my all. And while I felt like it wasn’t worth much (fail fumble…the hydra hissing at me)….it was worth more than I could know.
I’ve been thinking this week (self-indulgently? It could happen...)…perhaps, perhaps, my offering is something of a “mite?”
In a vision that comes from a different perspective – a divine love – my meager offerings might be worth much more than I count. I am not a ‘widow.’ And yet, I am. I am poor in my ability to do much, well, or enough, ever. I am poor in true love of others and patience and humility and detachment. But, even so…I was reminded that if I give my all – what I can do out of love – then it is, STILL, worth much.
Ah. Breathe. Perhaps this notion is indulgent. But I tell you, it’s like opening a window and sucking in fresh air. It’s ok to recenter and do what I can. That’s enough. And, that, that knowledge that lets my breathe and slash the list to a proportionate size….that is my hundredfold return. It’s not in my wallet. It’s in my deepest core. Worth so much more.
The hydra waits for me to forget, I know. But, if I can, I will work to remember the widow’s mite. My limits, they are what they are though I work, and will, to expand them. My “I can do this much” is poor and not so much.
My mite, however, can be worth much. My mite is worth the love I put in it, not the success or task number accomplished. Hydra, slain.