by Leane VanderPutten

The July day was sunny, the scent of petunias wafted in the air. The air was cooling off a bit and the breeze softly wafted through the branches of the trees. Summer was at its peak.

But Helen was not enjoying the breeze or the flowers.

Helen was tired. Not for any particular reason. Yes, it was summer, the kids were done with their home school and, instead of life slowing down, things seemed to have sped up.

June and July had been particularly hot, they didn’t have a pool, so the children spent time indoors during the heat of the day. Without the schedule of school, mayhem seemed to reign with more frequency than Helen liked.

Helen’s husband, Mark, was working lots of hours. Summer was the time his work became very demanding because he was in the construction field. So he was not around much to help out. And when he got home he was tired and even cranky at times.

“Such is life,” Helen sighed. Lately, things hadn’t been working out the way she had imagined. Instead of enjoying the so-called “lazy days of summer” she was fighting inner turmoil.  She was struggling through the days, battling thoughts of self-pity and complaining.

“Why can’t the kids be quiet now on again?”

“Dirty diapers, dishes, it’s discouraging,” she thought. “And life is only going to get more and more hectic as the years go by. I just don’t know if I can do this!”

This day had been particularly trying so when rosary time came around, amid the slouching children and wriggling baby, she implored Our Lady to help her.

The next day Helen woke up with a terrific pain in her side that didn’t want to leave. It was debilitating so she had to call in a babysitter to take over.

That night was sleepless. The next day, after a doctor’s appointment, she started an antibiotic for a bladder infection.

The antibiotic didn’t work so another one was tried. That one alleviated some of the symptoms for a short while but they came back with a vengeance.

The next couple of weeks were harder than ever for Helen. The worst part was the worry. She didn’t know what this mysterious pain was and, since they didn’t have insurance, she wasn’t going to run in and have a bunch of tests done. At least not right away.

So she was stuck worrying. What happens if it was something really bad? She’d find herself looking at her kids and imagine leaving them to fend for themselves in a crazy world.

When her husband came home,  her thoughts wandered to whether he would be left alone… If this was something that could actually take her life? She pushed a lot of those thoughts away but with her melancholic nature, they kept creeping back.

After a very bad night, finally, Helen went back to the doctor….this time a different doctor. He heard all the symptoms and told her that it sounded like she was just trying to pass a kidney stone.

This was news to Helen! She didn’t understand why the first doctor didn’t spot that?

Her step was a little lighter as she left the doctor’s office even though she still had pain. She got home and drank lots and lots of lemon water and took hydrangea tincture.

Within a few of days, she passed that kidney stone and was feeling much better!

The pain was gone, but the best part was that the worry was gone! With all the imaginings of her having a dread disease she had been tied up in knots!
Now that she knew things were OK, her heart filled with joy and thanksgiving!

The following days things began to get back to normal – hectic life came back full force.

But Helen’s heart had changed, indeed!

It still wasn’t easy to drag herself out of bed in the morning, but her heart was filled with thanksgiving because she could actually get up and take care of her children. Were the children any quieter? No. But she appreciated the laughter and the noise instead of always fighting against it. Did hubby come home earlier? No. But she was grateful that her husband had the work that he did and was not upset that he wasn’t around to help.

Her heart sang as she did the dishes.

She still got impatient, things weren’t flawless, but Helen was seeing things through different eyes.

She thought back on that evening when she implored Our Lady, during the rosary, to help her. She realized how much she had helped – maybe not in the way she had wanted or expected but it didn’t matter. She knew it was a gift right from her Mother‘s hands!

The summer days passed quickly. There were many joys in between the rough spots. Helen had learned a lesson. She hoped it would stick. She prayed it would stick.

Those weeks when things got rather dark for her taught her something special besides being grateful for the daily grind. She made up her mind that she would thank God for her crosses as she was going through them, knowing that He had the best possible plan in mind for her and that good would come from them.

It also came home to her that each new day was a gift. She would work hard at tuning her mind into that at the beginning of the day so that when the day ramped up she would have a spirit of gratefulness in spite of everything else.

As Helen sat outside in the early autumn breeze of the evening, amidst the floating aroma of the petunias, she thought to herself, “Indeed, it has been a very productive summer!”

Is it all about being right when we are having a disagreement? Do we need to be on the defensive each time we feel he is being unreasonable? That only seems fair, doesn’t it? Well, go ahead. But your relationship will suffer. It is more important, not that you “win” or that you always come out feeling like you gave the last verbal punch. Like Our Lord, we win through kindness and meekness.
What it comes down to is: Do you want to be RIGHT or do you want to be HAPPY? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!” www.finerfem.com

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Father talks about how important our duties of our vocation are, that they are the will of God for us, we need look no further. He touches on the specific duties of each of our different walks of life….

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