Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Carbonated Holiness

We celebrated all Twelve Days of Christmas. When Epiphany came, I had to fly to Oklahoma to help my dad relocate to a retirement home in a whirlwind of activity that lasted five days. On the flight home, I was exhausted. I resolved that I would unplug from all activities for awhile and just focus on home life. And God laughed.

On January 16, I began training to be the Interim Editor for the Idaho Catholic Register (ICR). This promoted me from a contributing, freelance writer for the ICR to an employee of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise. Because of this, I have been intending for three months to post this disclaimer (which is also on my sidebar): The views expressed on this site are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise.

I also went from being a few hours per week, work-at-home mom to over 20 hours per week, work-at-the-office mom. Life shifted. 

I did not expect to love my work as much as I did, and I found the experience to be wonderful. I enjoyed covering different events. I interviewed our bishop, Father Mike Schmitz, and Catherine Adair. I was given a story assignment (still in process) that involved interviewing other national speakers, and I'm floored each time I think about it. I was taught basic use of InDesign, and I got to meddle with Adobe Premier Pro one afternoon. I've learned more about writing, editing, marketing, and layout. It has been a blast!

The kids adjusted better than I feared, and now our 3 year old loves going to preschool. I'm still homeschooling the middle two kids though, and this was relegated to the not-so-ideal method of workbooks with lots of reading. Despite less than perfect circumstances, the kids enjoyed asking me about my day, and they liked the different stories I'd tell them about events and people.

God was not done with surprises though. Although the odds were against it, February started off with my finding out about baby six, due around my 44th birthday. Morning sickness made interim editing an interesting challenge. I am grateful I work for a truly family-friendly employer. I can't imagine the nightmare women face when they are stuck with employers who have no respect for pregnancy or family life. 

Of course, life doesn't stop just because your career took a turn and you're on a learning curve . . . and you're pregnant. Flat tires, winter illnesses, school events, house repairs, birthday parties, pet woes, and some such or one-thing-or-another cropped up with more regularity than it seems the powers that be ought to allow.

I'd fuss in Confession that I didn't have time to read or pray or go to daily Mass. I'd sigh when I looked at the stack of books by my bed, too weary to open them. I missed time with my kids during the day. I was torn between loving the exhilaration of my work (I truly loved it) and missing parts of my former life. Transitions are rarely smooth and clear.

Somehow though we all made it to spring and the second trimester. We all got through Lent, and now it's Easter.

The new editor is fabulous, and I've enjoyed learning more about journalism from him. My hours are going to drastically change, but I am happy that I'll still be writing for the diocese. I'm grateful for my job every day. I'm also thankful to have more time to do things with my family and with my parish.

A friend posted on Facebook a quote from Anne Lamott: Laughter is carbonated holiness. 

I laugh when I think of God laughing — not cruel or condescending, but with love — over all my plans and perfectionist ideals. I want smooth sailing; He wants me to learn how to peacefully navigate a storm. 

When my priest asked me last week how things were going, I told him that it's been humbling — none of my plans ever seemed to work, yet things always worked out anyway. Then we laughed.  

Dying to self is painful, no doubt about it. But resurrection is joyful. With resurrection, we can see the ridiculous nature of our own selfish ways and ambitions. We can laugh and remember that holiness isn't stiff and strict with dour schedules and rigid expectations. Holiness is grace and love; laughter sets it free in blissful bubbles.

©2017 Emily Woodham

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