Peggy Writes

LISTENING IN AN EMPTY NEST

This is a blog written by a women I admire, who is also a spiritual director.   I feel all parents with young children and those who are grown will be touched by this thoughtful perspective.

Empty Nest

 My children are launched. They’ve both left the nest and don’t depend on my husband or me to tuck them in at night, make dinner for them or even pay their bills. It’s a good thing. We’ve been blessed to give them roots and wings. Now what?

That time of rushing around when Allison and Douglas lived at home with us is a blur. No wonder! We had a lot surrounding us in those days: education, lessons, church, friends, sports, grandparents. You know what I mean; you could make your own list. 

I remember how my mother, a woman of great faith, encouraged me to slow down during that time.  She wanted me to spend more time with her and she encouraged me to do things that would take care of myself, but I had places to be and work to do!  I often did heed her advice, but I still felt that gentle pull, or more realistically, a constant nagging, that urged me back to my family.  I knew my kids were growing up quickly and soon they’d be gone. They needed me, I needed them.

So in 2010, nine years after my sage mother had died and Allison and Douglas were out of college, I quit my job that had helped to pay for their college tuition and had kept me out in the world. Blessedly and suddenly, I found myself at home alone a lot of the time since my husband is still working downtown Chicago and traveling about one day a week.

My spiritual director, who listened to me all through my kids’ adolescent years, my mother’s death and other sacred journeys, suggested something when I retired that I took to heart.  “Don’t commit to anything this first year,” she said.  I felt my body relax.  Psalm 46:10 told me to “Cease striving and know that I am God.”  I take a deep breath and began to truly understand what that means.

So instead of busying my life with volunteering and joining lots of groups, I ceased striving.  I stay home and mine the clutter that has accumulated in every corner of the house. I fossick and learn new words as I read what I want to read.  I wrote a first draft of an autobiography that may become something someday, but just as likely, it may not. I enjoy the introverted side of myself.

And throughout all this homebodying, my husband supports me.  He calls me a kept woman. He’s my patron.  This doesn’t sound very modern, but aging and moving to the second half of life isn’t new.  This new way of life allows me to listen better to the voice of God inside me.

I am gently finding my way into this second half of life.  My daughter has a beautiful new baby girl, sharpening my ability to see the holiness in the here and now.  Through my own spiritual direction practice I help others to live in better awareness of the presence of God.

I hope my husband will be able to join me before too long in the way of this empty nest.  When he does, I pray I’ll be able to encourage him in the way I’ve been encouraged on my journey.

Barbara Perry is a spiritual director and writer who lives, works and plays in her empty nest in Glen Ellyn.

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Overscheduled & Overcommitted?

Do you know anyone who feels overcommitted in their life or overscheduled with their family? Have you laid your head down at night and thought, “I need to find more time in my day.”? Matthew Kelly, a best-selling author and international speaker on both business and Catholicism, explains how our culture has shifted: “We have taller buildings and shorter tempers, we have bigger houses and smaller families, we can go to the moon and back again, and yet have trouble crossing the street to visit our neighbor, we have more conveniences and less time.” Many people begin their day before the sun rises and continue running until late into the evening. Regardless of how effectively we manage our day, many of us still often go to bed with the question of how to squeeze more time out of a 12-16 hour day for precious people in our life.

A few years ago the film “Race to Nowhere” called us to challenge our current thinking about how we prepare our children for success. It featured the heartbreaking stories of students across the country who have been pushed to the brink by over-scheduling, over-testing and the relentless pressure to achieve. Over the last 13 years, as I have stayed home to raise my children, I have seen this in my own community. Friends and family who are doing so many wonderful activities for their family are still searching for more time to do the things that matter the most to them.

Many of us find a rhythm to our life. Our daily, monthly, and annual routines are tied to the clock and set by the calendar: the rhythm of the 4 seasons, school year, holidays, sport seasons, quarterly sales goals, and the list goes on. Our lives can feel like the movie “Ground Hog Day,” stuck in a rhythm, reliving the same scenarios over and over again, not knowing how to change our situation. Etching into the schedule a date night with a spouse, an afternoon with an aging parent, or one-on-one time with a friend or child can be a challenge. Spending that quality time with those we love often gets the least of our attention, as does making time for our own physical health and spiritual well-being. This was my inspiration for Creating Space: helping individuals create the space in their life for the people and things that matter the most to them.

The first step with launching my new ministry was introducing it to the world. My goal was to discover a way to talk to people about God without “talking to people about God.” In order to begin this process, I knew that my marketing and web development would be best left to the experts. Cindy Tschosik, a local business woman and friend, did an outstanding job defining my business plan, implementing the website and integrating my social media. Another friend, Leanne Lally, owner and creative director of SeaHaus Studio (www.seahausstudio.com), is a marketing and brand expert. I was excited to see how her gift for design and her overall creative vision would help me communicate my message.

The concept of Creating Space was easy for Leanne and Cindy to identify with—as wives, mothers and business women, they were familiar with the challenge of “not enough time.” They intuitively began working with images, colors and logos that would complement and communicate the concept of Creating Space. The logo was the first to be developed; each element of it has meaning: the box represents our life, the pattern within the box is the rhythm and movement of our daily routine, the color blue conveys serenity. The white space in the middle of the box is the solution I foster: creating space in the rhythm of our life.

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In my ministry, I help clients create space to explore the core of their happiness. For some, that happiness may be a deeper relationship with their spouse or children. Others desire a greater awareness of their life’s purpose, and want to explore their faith through their gifts, talents and even their personal limitations. And still others have simply wanted to create space for grieving a loss. Each of us usually needs to create space for something in our life, and in doing so we gain a greater sense of “being”.
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The second image Leanne conceived of for Creating Space was the pier surrounded by water. Vacations at the beach or time at a lake house commonly bring a sense of peace. Our life journey is always winding and can often lead us to places that are unknown. Without a roadmap, we may struggle with ineffective routines, or not know which way to go. Through a one-on-one Creating Space session, clients intentionally carve time out of their month, if only 1 hour, to explore their life journey. Like time at the beach, our session together is a vacation from the busyness of life, a mini-retreat, to reflect upon the day, relationships, career, faith, and find direction for what’s most important to each individual. Taking time out to discover what makes us happy isn’t a new concept, but it is hard for many of us to do. I hope my writings (or one-on-one sessions) will help you with this mission.

My writings are due in part based on the gifts and talents of Karen Crowe who has done an outstanding editing several of my projects. Thank you, Karen.

So, do you know anyone who feels overcommitted in their life or overscheduled with their family? How might their life look or feel if they carved our time for those who are precious, including themselves?

This blog is based on the personal experiences and opinions of Peggy O’Flaherty. Any reproduction of the material in this blog may be used with written consent of the author by e-mail at peggy@creatingspaceinyourlife.com. Peggy O’Flaherty, is a certified spiritual director, public speaker, blog writer, wife and mother of five children. Her recent writing projects include “Who Is Listening?” and “Why Clean Your Garage?” She is the Founder & President of Creating Space, LLC., a ministry helping people enrich their faith. Follow Peggy at www.creatingspaceinyourlife.com

Tolerance, Faith & Pope

Growing up, I shared a very close relationship with both of my grandmothers, each of whom had a different approach to expressing her faith. My paternal grandmother was exposed to two religions in her family’s home: her father was Lutheran and her mother was Catholic. In her adult years, Grandma Batten practiced Catholicism. I remember her attending daily mass and saying the rosary devoutly. She was humble, and everyone was drawn to her for comfort. Perhaps it was her exposure to different religions as a child that led her to be more accepting of people. Or maybe it was just God’s grace.

My maternal grandmother was Canadian. She had a very difficult childhood, working on a farm at a young age. Her family did without many things, including church. Grandma Sarah believed in God, but she didn’t practice any formal religion. I had always known her to be very generous and a skilled baker. Even though she didn’t attend the local church, she showed her generosity by cooking and cleaning for the pastor – maybe that helped her feel connected to God. I remember her peeling apples for her homemade pies and singing while she worked. Unfortunately her songs often had a racial overtone. Even at my young age, those songs didn’t sit well in my heart. While I didn’t completely understand my feelings, this was my first exposure to intolerance.

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As a child I could sense the ugliness of intolerance, but as a teenager, some of that sensitivity had dulled. I will never forget the Friday evening my mother dropped me off at a weekend retreat that she’d signed me up for called “The Happening.” Standing alone with my sleeping bag, not knowing a single soul, I was terrified, and angry that she had sent me there. In high school, the “coolness factor” was an important consideration in picking friends and social situations. The group at The Happening was not my group of choice. Mom reassured me that if I wasn’t enjoying myself after two hours, she would come back to pick me up. Well that weekend changed my life. One of the most significant takeaways from the retreat was the connection I felt with individuals who were totally different from me. By the end of the weekend, I was overwhelmed by a sense of love for these people whom two days earlier I may have labeled as “weird”. This was my first lesson in how wrong I could be if I judged a book by its cover.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been exploring my faith, searching deeply. My parents raised me in a very charismatic Catholic home. They were involved in our parish and very active in ministry. They taught us respect for the saints and we never missed mass on Sundays or on Holy Days of Obligation. Growing up this way certainly influenced the lens through which I now see the world. I’ve definitely experienced God’s love, mercy and grace. But there have also been times in my life when God seemed absent. This may have something to do with why I’ve always been eager to understand how my friends experience their faith, God, institutional religions and spirituality.

The most fulfilling moments for me have been spent in conversations of faith, especially exploring the meaning of life. As the levels of trust in my friendships have grown, I’ve been profoundly touched by the sharing of burdens and hurts that we’ve each carried. Many of us have been wounded, sometimes going back to childhood, by a parent, friend or spouse. Most of us have not escaped hardships such as illness, death, regrets, and career challenges. Often during these challenges, we’ve been embraced by our faith community; but in some cases, we have felt rejected. We’ve witnessed both moments of tolerance, and lack of tolerance, which have left an imprint on our view of the world and influenced our faith. The scope of pain, or sense of our rejection by church, God or even a loved one, has lasting effects.

I spent the first twenty years of my life in a relatively small Midwestern town. The few trips my family took to Wisconsin and Disney World didn’t prepare me for the bigger world. So at 22, when presented with a job opportunity in San Francisco, I knew my eyes were about to be opened. What great memories I have of exploring the streets of Chinatown, amazed by the architecture and overcome by the aroma of the authentic Chinese fare. I was eager to experience the cultural explosion of San Francisco. There I had the pleasure of working with men and woman who were living a lifestyle different than I had previously been exposed to. My colleagues were of every nationality, married, divorced, single and gay. Each individual taught me a something new about compassion, tolerance, kindness and liberation.

In my early thirties, my husband and I lived in downtown Chicago near Wrigley Field. Our next-door neighbors were a newly married Jewish couple. They shared their religious customs and rituals with us, and demonstrated a tradition and love of God alone that I hadn’t witnessed before. Through this friendship, I once again came to a deeper understanding of my own faith, this time, in its connection to Judaism.

Two months prior to my 40th birthday, my husband and I welcomed our fifth child. We were committed to passing along our shared faith to our children. Around this time, I decided to enroll in a program to study spiritual direction. I specifically sought out a general Christian program so that I could learn other perspectives from various streams of Christianity. For two years, I listened as Protestants, Catholics, Evangelicals, Reformed believers, and people of other faiths shared how they experienced God’s love during the most trying times of their life. This program was another eye-opener for me. While I had never been intolerant of other faiths, I may not have always afforded them the same respect that I gave my own. My adult faith continues to be formed, and this program humbled me yet again.

Recently, my husband and I were talking about how we can better nurture our children to have an attitude of love and tolerance towards each other, and the world in general. Teaching them about kindness is an on-going effort. They can remember the sharp feeling of disappointment when they were excluded from an outing by friends. We’ve also explained how it felt for us to receive a call when one of them was not behaving kindly at school or on the bus. An analogy that we repeat often for them is that when Dad travels on an airplane for his job, regardless of whom he sits next to, he treats that individual with kindness and respect.

Last month I became aware of the buzz surrounding the New York Times article about Pope Francis, by Lauri Goodstein, published on September 19, 2013. Goodstein quotes the pope in the final lines of the article, revealing what I believe to be the church’s view on tolerance:

“This church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people. we must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity.” Since that article was published, I have heard many people expressing their joy of the pope’s desire to remain true to the faith tradition and yet expand the heart of the church to be more inclusive, accepting and loving.

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These experiences, and people in my life have influenced how I view the world and my faith. Scripture also guides me, telling how Jesus Christ walked with the marginalized and about his acceptance of them. In the Gospel of Matthew 7:12 we hear, “So whatever you wish that others would do for you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” God’s truth isn’t fully revealed to me, and yet I appreciate the idea of treating people the same way I would want to be treated. I hold close the words of Grandma Batten, “Evangelize like a butterfly and not like a bee.” Because my desire is to bring people closer to Jesus Christ, her words are ones I strive to follow. I think she would agree that demonstrating love in church, communities, work and family is a good place to start.

This blog is based on the personal experiences and opinions of Peggy O’Flaherty. Any reproduction of the material in this blog may be used with written consent of the author by e-mail at peggy@creatingspaceinyourlife.com. Peggy O’Flaherty, is  a certified spiritual director, public speaker, blog writer, wife and mother of five children. Her recent writing projects include “Who Is Listening?” and “Why Clean Your Garage?” She is the Founder & President of Creating Space, LLC., a ministry helping people enrich their faith. Follow Peggy at www.creatingspaceinyourlife.com.

Kindness vs. Gossip

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This poster was hanging in the hallway at All Saints School in Naperville. I found it a very powerful message. Choosing kindness over gossip or negative conversations isn’t easy. I have made the mistake myself of talking negative.  Finding the proper place to express our feelings and being heard in a healthy space is definitely important.   Sometimes we need to remind ourselves to “change the conversation.”

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Carve Out Time For Those You Love

pic-lakeside-moments-that-melt-hearts2.jpgThis summer my sister invited our entire extended family to her lake house in Michigan for our annual family reunion.  My parents have 9 children, 28 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. This year we were 32. It was bitter sweet, as this was the first year at the lake after losing my father in February. We slept in bunk beds, cots, on the floor, in the closet and even in tents. Some of our highlights include boating, fishing, tubing, splashing in the water, pontoon rides and relaxing by the fire with gooey smores. My sisters have a zest for life as they laugh loud and often, play in the water like children and treasure each child as their own. My brother and brother-in-laws are so patient working with all the teens as they learn how to water ski for the first time. They teach each child how to bait a hook, and they build the best camp fires.  Savoring life and family is the way they demonstrate their love.

Relaxing at the lake offers countless treasures. Our family ritual of enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning as the sun begins to rise over the peaceful lake. We watch the lone fisherman troll across the lake and smile as a family of ducks paddle along. Through the busy-ness of our life it seems almost impossible to enter into meaningful conversations with those we love the most. Yet lake time provides us these opportunities. One lazy afternoon while sitting at the edge of the lake, my grown niece shared how she juggles a career, along with her need to return to school for an advanced degree. Later that day, my college-age niece shared about her intern experience at Maui Jim Sunglasses and her hopes to start her own business. My nephew shared with me his desire to find a new church that will guide him into becoming the father, husband and man that he so hopes to become. I treasure the time to rest and listen to their challenges and joys of life.  pic-sunset-on-lake.jpg

After dinner one evening my sister shared how she struggles with understanding and knowing her faith and God as an adult. We shared experiences of knowing God’s existence in our childhood. We reminisced how our family practiced our faith traditions and our certainty of God’s presence during my dad’s hospice and final passing. Yet she still wrestles with the mysteries of our faith and what she expressed as “rules”. She said “It makes me sad when people feel that I am not a believer if I don’t go to Sunday service.” Then she began to sing her favorite church song for me.

 “Peter do you love me? Peter do you love me?

And again Jesus asked Peter do you really love me?

Then feed my sheep he said, Peter feed my sheep.”

She was brought to tears and we both sat silently looking out over the lake. In a sense, tears represent a prayer, as it is how we can express or communicate to God when we have no words for such a deep emotion. The question that rose up within me to ask my sister was, “How does it feel to know that someone, being God, loves you that much?”

Several years back as I was wrestling with an issue regarding my self-image and God, a trusted friend posed a similar question. We were discussing the greatest commandment that we received from Jesus, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind’ and the second commandment “love your neighbor as yourself.”  She asked me “do you love yourself?” and “can you love your neighbor, husband, children fully if you don’t love yourself?” Just like with my sister, my friend left me speechless. In all honesty, I wasn’t quite ready to answer that as I had parts of myself that I didn’t especially like and perhaps I even loathed. On my wedding day my father made a speech along the lines of “Being my partner would be a bit of Taming of the Shrew.”

Over the last two years, the depths of those two questions my friend posed have brought me to tears, have challenged me to think and have drawn me into pray. I found it hard to believe that even “with my faults,” God loves me unconditionally;  God made me exactly the way He wants me; and that I can choose to find joy in my areas of growth. Surely, I have room for growth and areas that my personality and temperament still need to be ‘tamed.’ As I work on these areas, I remind myself of, appreciate and work towards Thomas Merton’s wisdom.  “There is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace and my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him I will find myself and if I find my true self I will find him.” – Thomas Merton

This blog is based on the personal experiences and opinions of Peggy O’Flaherty. Any reproduction of the material in this blog may be used with written consent of the author by e-mail at peggy@creatingspaceinyourlife.com. Peggy O’Flaherty, is a certified spiritual director, public speaker, blog writer, wife and mother of five children. Her recent writing projects include “Who Is Listening?” and “Why Clean Your Garage?” She is the Founder & President of Creating Space, LLC., a ministry helping people enrich their faith. Follow Peggy at www.creatingspaceinyourlife.com.

Benefits of Family Chores

A marriage invariably brings together two individuals who are skilled in different ways. Some are gifted in nurturing, others are adept in managing finances. One may have culinary expertise or even a natural inclination for decorating. Yet, another is gifted at craftsmanship to handle the home repairs. My father was the consummate worker, a plumber by trade, but he could also fix anything, and he loved any home repair challenge. My mother, on the other hand, was the model of hospitality. She welcomed exchange students from France. She created our home as a hub for all the neighborhood children.  Most importantly, she taught us to reach out and care for the marginalized. Mom and Dad were a nice blend.

I must have inherited a small degree of my father’s desire to keep things in order. This was most evident to my husband’s chagrin a few weeks back, as I asked the family to help me clean out the garage after attending Sunday service. “Ugh,” was his reply as he had just settled in to read the Sunday paper on his IPAD. Well, I knew he would like some quiet time to read, so I decided to prey on my five children. I tempted them with outdoor playtime and a trip to the pool, if they helped. Again, after a few moans and groans and my persistence we moved out to the garage. We began by pulling everything out on the driveway. It was going well until I unrolled a carpet and out of the carpet, a mouse ran up my arm, and I ran down the driveway screaming! After we calmed down, we swept and organized the entire garage.  That day, we donated a few things. The kids rode their bikes and had fun with an old box. They even practiced shooting hoops. Close to the day’s end, we even pulled our two cars into the garage, which hasn’t happened in months.

The next morning as I ventured into the garage to find some batteries, I had an overwhelming feeling of being content. I paused for a moment to soak in the rewards of our labor. It led me to think about where does contentment and happiness come from in life? Cleaning my garage allowed me to remember how good we feel when our life is in balance. Our family unravels when we are running around for days on end with sports, school activities and family obligations. We feel overwhelmed and overscheduled. The flip side is how we connect when things are in balance. Attending to each of our individual needs and family needs isn’t always easy. I find that balance when our physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs are being met.

Our family makes an attempt at healthy eating even with the occasional drive-thru meal. School and park district sports, along with dance are the bases for our fitness regimen. Connecting as a family comes through enjoying family dinners, game nights or movie nights on the weekends and a healthy dose of affection at bedtime. Taking time to nurture our marriage doesn’t always get the highest priority. We both agree a regular date night is a necessary component, especially since it is easier with older children. We try to keep our life mostly in balance, and sometimes, we even get over confident and feel really good about ourselves. Then life throws us a curve ball. When my Dad’s illness took a turn for the worse our family had to readjust the meaning of balance.

I have learned that my greatest contentment comes from being aware and grateful to the source of the blessings in my life. Having a discipline to nurture my spirituality, even in very subtle ways, has transformed my life. Taking five minutes in the morning to rest in God’s goodness and then five minutes at bedtime to reflect upon the day has been my most meaningful spiritual practice. It is in that 10 minutes every day that I remember the moments that were filled with love and those that were absent of love. From there, I determine what I can do differently tomorrow.

My husband may not jump for joy to clean our garage, but he brings an important component to our marriage. He creates a loving atmosphere that is focused on balance in all areas of life. He demonstrates a great work ethic, he is an avid reader, and he values education. He coaches the children’s sports teams and remains connected with their needs. He hugs me first when he comes home from a long day of work. And most importantly, he teaches our children to pray.

Cleaning my garage is like my spiritual journey. Having the discipline to nurture my faith provides me stable footing (the balance in my life) and supports me when life tosses me a curve ball. When life gets cluttered , we hit the reset button to get it back on track. Then, when the curve ball comes and we have that balance, we are better prepared to tend to ourselves and those we love in our life.

“If we will walk humbly with our God, He will lead us by the hand to exactly who and what we need, to those people, things and experiences He has designed and intended for us, and this alone will be the cause of our deep fulfillment and happiness.”   Matthew Kelly

This blog is based on the personal experiences and opinions of Peggy O’Flaherty. Any reproduction of the material in this blog may be used with written consent of the author by e-mail at peggy@creatingspaceinyourlife.com. Peggy O’Flaherty, is a certified spiritual director, public speaker, blog writer, wife and mother of five children. Her recent writing projects include “Love One Another,” “Who Loves You?” and “Who is Listening?” She is the Founder & President of Creating Space, LLC., a ministry helping people enrich their faith. Follow Peggy at www.creatingspaceinyourlife.com.

Who is Listening

Distracted by the Phone

Dental appointments are often a long process, especially with 5 children. My goal has been to always keep each person busy and quiet while we wait for each of our procedures. I remember a few years back, in an effort to keep them quiet; some of the kids would read a book or color. Now each of us has collected the plethora of electronic gadgets: Kindles for books; iTouches for music; iPhones for texting; DS’s for video games; Even my 4-year-old has a princess laptop to learn her ABCs and 123s.

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Technology obviously provides great value in learning, communication and overall advancement of our world. I’ve begun to wonder the value of these electronics. How does technology impact our relationships and our emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual well-being? Surely social media provides value in reaching out to long-distant relatives, classmates from years past or networking for employment opportunities. While waiting at the dentist, as I began typing this blog on my laptop, my 11-yearold daughter asked, “What are you working on, Mom?” I turned the question around and asked her, “How does it feel when Mom is texting or sending an email, and trying to listen at the same time?” She replied, “It makes me feel that whatever I am saying isn’t important.” Recently, a child psychologist told me that there is fine line between children feeling that “what they say is not important” and “who they are is not importantbecause they interpret their worth to the attention they receive. While I was out for lunch with a friend, she continually looked down at her phone to check an incoming message text. I started feeling that what I was saying was not her top priority. However, I had the understanding, as an adult that I was important to her. Children do not have this wisdom that comes with age.

Active listening is a practice of being fully present for another individual. As an active listener, you have a genuine interest in the person talking and want to hear their message. This often requires that we stop multi-tasking, refrain from giving our opinion, and limit our desire to shape or fix the outcome of their story. Being an active listener to those in our life, regardless of technology, is often a challenge. We are called upon daily to be active listeners in so many instances. A friend calls distraught and you are in the middle of making dinner. A co-worker comes into your office for the fourth time this month to vent about an unresolved issue. An aging parent repeats a story about a new ailment that they talked about yesterday. A child is looking for your attention, in the midst of attending to another child’s need. Almost all of us have experienced at least one of these scenarios. David Augsburger, the author of Caring Enough to Hear and Be Heard, said “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.” ― David Augsburger

What did my children need from me, their mother, during that dental visit? On some days, based on my own busy-ness and energy level, I miss the chance and gift of attentiveness. I have to remind myself to be patient with myself, as pausing to listen attentively is a practice that needs constant renewal. As I paused in that moment, I could see my 9-year-old son really wanted to be consoled after he had a cavity filled. Another younger child wanted to be reassured that her procedure wasn’t going to hurt. My oldest daughter just wanted to share her excitement about the upcoming volleyball season. My 8-year-old daughter wanted me to glance over for a second to comment on her rainbow loom bracelet that she was making for the dental hygienist. And the youngest, was looking for me to hold her hand while she flipped the pages of her book. In reflecting upon that time now, none of their needs involved technology and all of their needs involved me being attentive to them.

Yes, it is absolutely a challenge to be attentive to others in our fast-paced technology world. With all the distractions and our need to multi-task, it is almost a battle to slow down long enough to rest and listen to the people around us. I certainly wouldn’t want God texting during our conversation or my prayers. When we pause for even a moment to recognize the precious people in our midst, it is often a surprise to feel the emotions that are evoked in our heart. And it is there in our hearts where we meet God. It is in my attentiveness to God and my family, where I find my life has an overall balance with my emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual well-being.

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5 

This blog is based on the personal experiences and opinions of Peggy O’Flaherty. Any reproduction of the material in this blog may be used with written consent of the author by e-mail at peggy@creatingspaceinyourlife.com. Peggy O’Flaherty, is a certified spiritual director, public speaker, blog writer, wife and mother of five children. Her recent writing projects include “Who Loves You?” and “Why Clean Your Garage?” She is the Founder & President of Creating Space, LLC., a ministry helping people enrich their faith. Follow Peggy at www.creatingspaceinyourlife.com.

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