Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Famous (and nearly-famous) Friends

Friends are good. But sometimes I wish so many of my friends were not as highly successful as they are. Not that I wish them failure (really...), but I wish they stopped making me look so bad!

One of my friends is an author, rapidly becoming a "famous" author, having the kind of success I want, but so far, can only dream of.

Bobbi Sheahan, wife, mother, and author-extraordinaire. She also makes me laugh so hard soda comes out my nose.

Another friend is also a writer.

Another friend is Mrs. Kansas, and is getting ready for the Mrs. America competition, where I am predicting she is going to kick butt. Politely of course, and with a great smile!

Bobbie Padgett is crowned Mrs. Kansas in Sept. 2011

Another friend is extremely gifted in photography, while another couple excel in singing.
Other friends may not reach the world of fame or notice, but they surpass themselves as mothers, homeschoolers, cooks, etc...
Plenty of people I went to college with have gone on to careers important to the Church. One of my grad-school friends has several books, is in demand for talks, and founded his own institute.

Even my mother-in-law has her own book now! (and it is great!)
The Monkey is so excited to "do school" with Grandma Nan's new book!

Me? Lots of aspirations, mainly.

This is not meant to be a "pity-me" post, but just  collection of thoughts I had today, mainly while reading facebook as I tried to wait out the Monkey's temper tantrum (it was a long one). I love and hate facebook. I love that it keeps me connected with people, love that I can give a shout-out when I am happy or sad, love that sometimes it is my link to sanity in my homeschooling day. Other times it is a reproach to me. I get on and read my friends'  postings about their book signings, trips, interviews given to newspapers, awards, Nobel prizes, etc.... I had just been about to say something like, "Laundry in the dryer", which seemed like such a major accomplishment up until that point.

St. Therese of Lisieux was never my favorite saint. I admired her, of course, but never felt that close to her. But my adult life has changed that. I realized it wasn't that I did not like St. Therese - I was scared of her.

My idea of success is big and bold. I want to be a writer - so that means I need to be published and praised and use those desires to help bring the financial support my family so desperately needs. I want to sing - that means I need to never make a mistake, and I need to know others don't hate my voice (finding out one older gentleman in my parish hated my voice will probably put me in therapy for years to come). I am a homeschooler - so I should be churning out Rhodes scholars. I am a Catholic homeschooler - that has a whole different world of expectations.
I prefer my women saints to be big and bold and busy! St. Joan of Arc (totally kick-butt warrior), St. Theresa of Avila (Doctor of the Church), St. Edith Stein (intellectual, writer, and teacher).

But St. Therese lived a quiet life. A brief life. Her main focus was on living her life in love, doing small things.

Small things? Where is the glory? Where is the fame? Where is the opportunity for "wholesome" pride?

Small things are just that - small. They may not get seen or noticed. They may not pay the bills. They may not gather praise.

It is the smallness, the stillness that is so frightening. For if I am not known, I may not matter. So says my warped sense of self.

The reproach of my file drawer of unpublished work still bothers me. I wonder - will it ever mean anything? My facebook posts remain about as lame as they can be (I do stop short of publicly celebrating the fact I got fully dressed today. I do draw the line somewhere!).
But the challenge presented remains - do all things, ALL things, whether they are seen or unseen, with great love. Live life with love, and live for loving others, even if your own life lives ends in obscurity. Even if all you can do is bask in the success of your friends.

And celebrate the laundry getting done, dang it! Some times the small things do matter!


ASC said...

Wow. You mentioned me on your blog! Girl, you forget that this is a two way street. I look at you and admire you and know that I - for a fact - could NEVER homeschool kiddos. Heck, I only HAVE one child! Moms like you amaze me - and you do make all that you do look so easy. Facebook, blogs and the like are so deceiving. It's easy to think that "the other people" have no problems, no financial concerns, freelance work coming out their ears, etc - but really, sweet friend - we are all in the same place. Trying to muddle along as best we can, and thanking God daily for His blessings. Much love to you!

Ang said...

You should read this if you haven't already. It really reminded me of this posting! Do what we need in our community, our contributions are important even though they are not on a grand level. You are fantastic!

By Ron Rolheiser

texasmom said...

Thanks for the link, Ang! Great post by Fr Rolheiser!"Our deepest riches, like Jesus’ birth in our world, will be consigned to the fringes, to the martyrdom of inadequate self-expression, as Iris Murdoch once called this. Art too has its martyrs and there is no pain greater than the inadequacy of self-expression." So wonderful. And comforting to know it isn't just me! :)