March 1, 2019

It’s All Good / Patti Lamb

Son’s actions help Mom realize what’s important in life

Patti Lamb“Is that a new throw rug?” my husband asked a couple weeks ago, when he entered the laundry room.

“Yep,” I replied. I’m trying to spruce up our home, which has been for sale for a while now.

The next week, he commented on the pillows on the couch.

“Where are our regular pillows?” he asked. “These pillows are stiff and scratchy.”

I explained that I thought changing our toss pillows on the couch might make the room “pop” to prospective buyers.

When I bought yet another succulent to display by the bathtub, he gently said, “It’s kind of been like an Easter egg hunt around here with all these little things you’re buying to make buyers think this place is move-in ready.”

He followed that up with, “But a throw rug isn’t going to be the deciding factor in selling this house.

“We’ve done all we can do, and this in God’s hands now,” he added.

And he’s right. My St. Joseph statue was buried in the yard. I had the house blessed for a second time by our deacon, even though our priest already blessed it when we first moved in 14 years ago.

“The first blessing hasn’t worn off,” my husband kindly reminded me, “but if you feel better with ‘Blessing 2.0,’ then I support you.”

I even put holy water on the doorknobs before showings.

Before you write me off as a few tacos short of a combo platter, I’d like to say in my defense that I’ve just been trying to give it my all. I frantically clean before showings and have given the sale of our home all my attention, which isn’t right.

In God Calling, one of my favorite devotionals, I came across this passage on waiting:

“There is no work in life so hard as waiting, and yet I say wait. Wait until I show you my will. Proof it is of my love and of my certainty of your true discipleship. … All motion is more easy than calm waiting. So many of my followers have marred their work and hindered the progress of my kingdom by activity. … I will not overtry your spiritual strength.”

Enough already, Patti. I’ve done my best, and I need to let God do the rest.

We had a showing the next day, and instead of going down to detail the baseboards, I walked in the kitchen and asked my son how his day was. And an incredible thing happened. My 14-year-old boy talked to me. He told me about his day and his recent algebra concerns, and it all just came out. When I thanked him for opening up to me, he commented that I’ve been so focused on the house that he didn’t want to add to my stress with his worries.

That moment was a wake-up call. I’d been giving all of my attention to the wrong cause. I need to give this house sale obsession to God and stop missing what’s right in front of me.

The following morning, my son was leaving for school and I went in for a hug, feeling more connected with him after our talk the prior night. Instead of standing there like a pillar as he usually does when I hug him, he put his arms around me and hugged me back.

Thanks, Henry, for reminding me to let go of the earthly, superficial stuff and embrace what’s truly important.

(Patti Lamb, a member of St. Susanna Parish in Plainfield, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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