A Little Lesson ~ Tammy’s Cloud


by Leane VanderPutten

Tammy was feeling testy lately and she didn’t know why. She felt like this periodically and it was an uncomfortable sort of thing. Kind of like a cloud that had settled around her…a greyish one that made her uneasy…like all was not okay.

She was short with the kids and her husband, which made the cloud a little more dense. She felt like she was losing control and slipping…

Many things had her worried. Things like…

Why is Susie disobeying so much lately?

How can I get little George potty-trained?

Hubby seems so tired lately…I hope everything is all right.

I wish I wouldn’t have gained that 5 lbs.…

My prayer life needs help…

Why is the neighbor so grouchy with me these days?

And on and on.

This weekend a visiting priest was coming to give a women’s conference. Tammy wasn’t looking forward to it. She had this unpleasant feeling she would walk away from it feeling even more inadequate than ever.

No, she wasn’t praying enough.

Yes, her routine was often messed up…sometimes through her own fault.

No, she hadn’t been making it very often to daily Mass.

She felt she would be reminded of these many inadequacies that were weighing heavy upon her.

Tammy made it through the rest of the week, each day muddling through as the cloud of anxiety stuck with her. It was in the background, and, though Tammy managed to get the basics done each day… it was there, like a chronic itch that was especially annoying when one was being still.

Saturday came. Hubby had said he would watch the kids so Tammy could go to the conference. Tammy was off to Mass, doing her best to have a positive attitude about the talks.

As Tammy sat down in the hall, she noticed many other women coming to take part in the conferences. She wondered if they had it all together. They were smiling, talking and laughing. Tammy said hi to several of them as they were, of course, familiar faces, many of them were friends.

Father went to the podium and introduced himself and began his talk. Tammy fidgeted and tried to pull her thoughts away from the many chores that awaited her at home.

As Father proceeded in his talk, she started to take more notice.

“I’m here today to take that baseball bat that you keep hitting yourself with, out of your hand…”

Hmmm…she thought. That would probably be a good thing.

“We often rely on our own power, our own strength to overcome our faults and failings. We also rely on ourselves often to ‘fix things’ that are, a lot of times, out of our control,” he continued.

“And even if there IS something we should or should not be doing, the strength to carry this out and the wisdom to know what we should be doing evades us. We want answers but we don’t have them.

So, really, the solution to these daily problems is a continual crying out to God for help…for grace, for wisdom. It’s as simple as that…. a continual reaching out to Him Who wants to help in all the nitty gritty details of life.

But how do you do that, as busy wives, and mothers? You often hit the ground running as you struggle to get the day rolling with the multitude of needs that beg to be met.

In the morning, on arising, we can direct to the Most High through the Morning Offering, all the activity of the day.

This is most important, because as the hours and minutes roll by, the various actions rise in homage to God.”

Ok, I do that, thought Tammy. So at least I am starting out my day by doing the right thing.

The priest continued….

“From time to time throughout the day, think of raising our mind and heart to God. Each person has their own individual way of conversing with God. And this is good. God loves us and He made us each with a unique personality and way of expressing ourselves.

A continual conversation with Him throughout the day is very valuable! Like a best friend, and of course, He is the very best, take your cares, your joys, your struggles to Him throughout the day. Talk to Him.

It’s not difficult to do this…it is a matter of habit…of remembering to lift our hearts to Him often throughout the day.

How can we do this? Find ways that help you remember.

As you are getting dressed in the morning, talk familiarly with God. Imagine putting on the armor of God and ask Him to protect you from any evil that may come your way today, to protect you from negative thoughts, from getting discouraged. Ask Him to help you smile more, be more relaxed and peaceful about things….or whatever you wish to say to Him first thing in the morning.

When you have your morning tea or coffee, a quick prayer of gratefulness to Him who gave you this to enjoy is valuable.

As you are teaching school, pray for those children who are having problems…a quick prayer…and then for yourself, the teacher, the mother.

During the children’s nap time, send a quick prayer to the Holy Ghost that you use the time wisely. Then go about your business.

Ask for energy, temperance, kindness, etc. often during the day…”

Father went on about intimately conversing with God and with Our Lady because they are truly our best friends.

Then he concluded, “If it is one thing I am going to give you as homework from this conference, it is this:

Increase your conversation with God throughout the day.

That’s it.

Yes, say your regular prayers, try to say them better. But most importantly, talk to Him throughout the day about your fears, your frustrations, your loneliness, your joys, your gratefulness, etc.”

Tammy walked away that day with a lighter step. Father did not make her feel guilty…he just encouraged her to seek for a deeper relationship with God…not by spending more time in prayer but by learning to converse with Him throughout the day. She felt she could do that.

The next few days, Tammy talked to God, Our Lady, the saints and her Guardian Angel about a lot of things throughout the day… her neighbor’s grouchiness, (“St. Anne, please help my neighbor with whatever it is that is bothering her”) Susie’s disobedience (“Blessed Mother, help Susie, and help me to know what to do”), her bothersome weight gain (“Dear Lord, give me wisdom and temperance”), etc. Little prayers were being sent up all through the day as Tammy thought of it…

After a month or so, Tammy realized something…that cloud of anxiety had dissipated…it was gone!

The problems were still there, there would always be problems, but that cloud of anxiety Our Lord had taken care of. By her continual reaching out to Him, He had in turn, given her more peace in her days!

And it showed in her family life. Her husband made a comment to her that he noticed she was more at peace, more cheerful. This made him happier, too. The children seemed to get along better and, well, life in general, perked up! After all, if Mama’s not happy, her little world feels it!

Tammy was very grateful!

Never forget that it is God’s will that the parents should be the ones to teach the child to pray, as Mary and Joseph helped the boy Jesus to advance in wisdom and grace. -A Dominican Nun, 1954

We must realize that building back to traditional values starts, first, in ourselves and in our homes. Which, in turn, will affect our communities and society in general. And our dress is a powerful means to do just that! It IS like a billboard saying, “There is still something beautiful, noble and good in this world, and it is worth living for.”

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We live in an age characterized by agitation and lack of peace. This tendency manifests itself in our spiritual as well as our secular life. In our search for God and holiness, in our service to our neighbor, a kind of restlessness and anxiety take the place of the confidence and peace which ought to be ours. What must we do to overcome the moments of fear and distress which assail us? How can we learn to place all our confidence in God and abandon ourselves into his loving care? This is what is taught in this simple, yet profound little treatise on peace of heart. Taking concrete examples from our everyday life, the author invites us to respond in a Gospel fashion to the upsetting situations we must all confront. Since peace of heart is a pure gift of God, it is something we should seek, pursue and ask him for without cease. This book is here to help us in that pursuit.

Reverend Irala here addresses ways to promote mental and emotional well-being to help increase one’s health, efficiency and happiness. He speaks on topics such as how to rest, think, use the will, control feelings, train the sexual instinct, be happy, and choose an ideal. Included are also many practical instructions on dealing with mental struggles of all kinds. This book is most useful in our present times of worldly confusion.

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