Category Archives: Selfishness

Winning the Lottery and Knowing You are Dying

“I know what I’d do if I won the Lottery,” my sister said to me.  I thought to myself, “Really? She knows what she would do? Hmmm…I’m not quite sure I know what I would do.” She continued, “I would pay for our entire family to go on a Disney Cruise.” Right now, that’s about 70 people at least. “Yeah, that would cost some money,” I replied.

I’m not sure how we got started talking about winning the Lottery, but our conversation right before that is what we would change if we knew we were dying. That was a much easier question for me to answer. I said right away, “I wouldn’t change one thing.” That sounded crazy to my ears at first, but I followed it with, “I have fought long and hard to get my life ordered on the right things. I have put God first, my spouse second, my children third, my family next, followed by my neighbors and community and church. I don’t think I would change a thing.”

But the more I thought about it today, the more I realized I would change some things. I would go to daily Mass. I would wake up much earlier and pray. I have done both of these things on and off for the past few years, but I cannot seem to be consistent. It’s like my selfishness and my love for God are battling it out. Sometimes, I feel as if I am on the sidelines watching. Sometimes, my vocation as wife and mother makes me wonder if this is even possible. So, I think I would change this, but everything else, I wouldn’t change.

As for the Lottery, I have given it some thought. Although I never play the Lottery, if I did, I know what I would like to do with that money. I would like to buy a large property with woods, a lake, and cabins all around. I would build a Retreat Center for Families. This would be a place where families could come and spend time to relax and grow in their faith. I would ask the Sacred Heart Sisters to teach and plan the retreats because this is their charism–to serve the Married Church–and they are awesome at it. I would make it so that money was never a barrier for experiencing a weekend full of grace and spiritual growth. On the days when the Retreat Center was empty, I would have a 24-hour Adoration Chapel and I would pray.

As I type this blog, I am thinking the whole time: “You will never win the Lottery. Why are you even writing this?” Just now, it hit me. In all truth, I have won the Lottery already, and it is because God’s plans are so much bigger than mine. See, Jesus Christ died on the Cross for each single person. He made sure each of us “won the Lottery” in the most incredible way possible. He gave us Eternal life and invites us to be adopted sons and daughters of God! This changes the whole way we look at living and dying, too. If I knew I was dying, I would know I was that much closer to being with God face-to-face. I imagine I would be experiencing a “quickening” of sorts that would prepare me for this. Although those around me would grieve, I would only more strongly have to share my belief and faith in God’s plan. I would want everyone to know that we all have won the lottery, and death has been conquered! I pray that all people will come to understand that they have won the lottery in this way when they know they are dying.

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Broken Shovels

When we were new to the area, our neighbor asked if we had any use for some dirt. Hating to pass on a freebie, I looked across our sloping backyard and remembered my husband mentioning some low spots that needed filling. I told our new neighbor that we could use the dirt and asked him to put it in a pile on the driveway.

At that time, my growing boys had lots of energy. There were times when I knew they just needed to do something physical, like chopping wood or mucking hay, but we didn’t live on a farm or have a need for firewood. I decided that shoveling dirt would be a great energy-releasing activity. I showed the boys the dirt pile and explained what I wanted done when the appropriate time came. I also let them know that playing in the dirt was not allowed.

Fast forward a few weeks. My boys were being wild and restless, so I tell them to each grab a shovel from the garage and head to the dirt pile. They knew what to do. About 5 minutes later, the youngest comes in with a broken shovel. It was an older shovel we had picked up at a yard sale, so I figured it’s time had come. I told him to take turns with his brother and sent him back outside. He mentioned that they were having a hard time at this task, but I just figured they didn’t really want to work that hard.

After 5 more minutes of peace, in comes my other son. He tells me another shovel is broken. I am thinking, “What is up with broken shovels?” I told him, “Let me come out and show you how this is done.”

I take the remaining unbroken shovel in my hands and give my heartiest dig into the pile. The force of my dig knocked me backwards onto my, well yeah, that. This was no ordinary “dirt”. It was rock-solid, hardened clay that broke shovels in two!

The first thing I did was to apologize to my sons. I had really asked them to do an impossible task, plus I had assumed that they were the problem. I hadn’t taken the time to assess the situation clearly and there were some unknowns I hadn’t been prepared for.

I don’t know about you, but at times, that’s how I feel in life. That there’s an impossible task God has put before me, and my first inclination is to assume others are the problem.  I don’t take the time to clearly discern the situation. I am afraid of the unknowns in His plans for me.  So, I just start tackling that problem with all my might, only to be knocked off my feet. The force of my self-centeredness comes slamming back at me.

That’s when God gently picks me up, wipes me off, and points to a beautiful pile of black dirt that is soft and easy to manage. He even tells me it is okay to play in it. Amazingly, I sometimes still choose to pick up the broken shovels and head back to that hard pile of clay! He just smiles, shakes His head, and waits for me.