Due to an annual weeklong closure at the local auto plant, my husband is on vacation this coming week. Although I do not relish the shortened paycheck, it’s kind of convenient considering there is an upcoming holiday, and it’s something I’ve been looking forward to for a couple of months now. However, now that it’s here…I’m a bit ambivalent about the whole thing.
Let’s face it…the sooner a vacation begins, the sooner it ends so the pressure is on to get everything on the To Do list done, enjoy each other’s company, celebrates the holiday and insure that he gets some much needed rest and relaxation. Even though the time seems to stretch out endlessly in front of me now, I just know by Wednesday of next week I’m going to be panicked. I’ll be so busy mourning the time that has already passed; I’ll fail to enjoy the time I have left.
The way I see it, there are two types of people in this world: Folks who tend to see the glass as half empty, and folks who tend to see the glass as half full. For those who see the glass as half-empty, too much is never enough and for those who see the glass as half-full, some is more than plenty. As much as I would like to tell you I fall into the glass half-full camp, more often than not, I’m the glass half-empty type.
My mother was the same way. That woman fretted over things that were in the past, things that were in the future and things that were going on in real time. She couldn’t be in the moment and celebrate it for what it was without fretting over what it wasn’t. Jesus points this out in today’s gospel when He tells John’s disciples that when they limit themselves by fasting, they prevent themselves from fully enjoying what’s right in front of them (namely Him.)
We do the same thing when we go on vacation and take 300 photos to remember a sunset rather than experience the scenery first hand. We do it when we go to a concert and watch the headliner through a cell phone screen rather than being at one with the music. We do it when we complain about the neighbor’s over-the-top fireworks display rather than grabbing a chair and enjoying the show. And I personally do it when I am literally mourning the absence of my bridegroom before he even has the chance to join the party.
By His very existence in the sacraments (including marriage), Jesus gives us the freedom to celebrate and when we fast prematurely or fail to recognize his presence, we fail to truly open His gift. The gifts that sustain and nourish us long after the music fades, the colors disappear and those we love are gone: The memories we have made and the promise that we will see each other again when we celebrate in the presence of God forever.
Today’s Mass Readings: AM 9: 11-15; PS 85: 9 AB and 10, 11-12,13-14;MT 9:14-17