There is a program on cable television called “Dirty Jobs”. It portrays a typical day at some of the dirtiest jobs in the country. The nastier elements of garbage disposal, food preparation, sanitation work, cleaning and refurbishing are there to be seen in all their ickyness.
As tough as these can be, they can’t compare with what I think is the hardest job of all . . . raising children to be healthy, happy, self disciplined and kind.
It is a messy job, but not for the dirt and grime of the workplace. It’s messy because we try and fail . . . and try again. It’s messy because sometimes parents just don’t know the best way to handle things. It’s messy be-cause we can’t be certain of the outcome until some 25 or 30 years have shown what this child has grown to be. It’s messy because your efforts so often go unappreciated.
We hear of the heartbroken father in the gospel this Sunday, his daughter is sick unto death, “someone please help us!! Jesus come and help my daughter.” A parents worst nightmare- – – their endangered child. A more profound heartbreak- there is none.
And then . . . if by some chance you do everything right and your child grows straight and true . . . they find someone to love and leave you.
And you wouldn’t have it any other way, but it hurts.
So, why would anyone want this messy job, parenting? Because it makes you into the best person you can be. Children and spouse are the one force in life stronger than our selfishness. It is in raising children that you give your all (doesn’t it take everything?). You lay down your life for them. And as Jesus says, “No greater love hath someone that they lay down their life” for those God gives them. Jn 15:13
Monks have their chapel and their fields. Nuns have their convent and their work. Priests have their parish and their bishop. Parents have their family. Each lived situation works by God’s plan to help us forget ourselves and live for others.
Thank you Mother and Father for loving us more than you loved yourself.
Are you doing summer things?!