Unfulfilled Desires

At Bible Study this week, my friends and I were discussing “passions” – those things that we feel strongly about. According to Quentin Hakenewerth, S.M., “a passion is emotional energy which is attached to some goal or object. Passions help us become lively and resourceful persons.” However, we need to attach this energy to something that is worthwhile. “Saint John gives us three criteria for recognizing passions which are harmful and ego-centered: those which 1) pursue pleasure for its own sake; 2) crave possessions for their own sake; 3) covet status, titles, or rank to build up our image in the eyes of others (cf . 1 Jn 2:16).” On the other hand, one can never be too passionate about those things that come from God – “love, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (cf . Gal 5:22-24).

Everyone has something that gets their inner fires burning, and thankfully, these things generally coincide with gifts that have been bestowed upon them from God. The combination of our talents and our passions is the fuel which keeps us going in life. It is the impetus for civilization and relationships and contributions to society. The women whom I am lucky to call friends are all passionate people, yet when we got to the question “Describe a passion you have, for example, a desire to achieve some goal or work on a particular project which gives you lots of energy. What can you do to develop this passion?” the room became eerily silent. We are all mothers, and homeschooling mothers at that. There are so many things we would like to do, some desires admittedly more noble than others, yet they are squashed by a lack of time. There is only so much “emotional energy” that one can muster after a full day of parenting. Even when the energy is there, the time and opportunity are not.

It is true – we mothers do have ample opportunity to practice things like love, patience, kindness, generosity, and self-control. Motherhood is a noble pursuit. I know some women who were truly made to be mothers. I, however, am not one of them. I love my children with all my heart and do all I can for them. They were given to me by God and I treasure the gift and acknowledge the responsibility. I was called to homeschool, despite my initial reluctance. It was definitely the right decision for our family. I’m trying to be the very best mom I can be. I know that I am lucky to have this opportunity. Yet, I am more than that. I am more than the person who takes care of the kids and cleans the house (and I admit, I don’t do that chore particularly well). God gave me other gifts. I was also blessed with the opportunity to obtain an advanced education.

Like my friends, I do try to make use of my passions and talents to contribute to the world at large. It is always in small doses, however. I’ve had older mothers assure me that the day will come when I will get the opportunity to make more use of my gifts. That may be true, or it may not. There is no guarantee that I will live to see that day. Even if I do, there may very well be other people who will need my time and attention – sick parents or caring for grandchildren, for example. The future is a great unknown. All I have is today and the circumstances I find myself in. The unfulfilled desires are frustrating. I sometimes wonder why God made me, what my purpose is in the big scheme of things. I have to trust that he knows better than I do my reason for being here. All I can do is keep going, praying and trying to do the best I can with the time I have. Another wise woman at Bible Study (I told you I was lucky to be among these women!) reminded us all of the importance of acceptance. I need to work on that. I need to be happy where I am and let God take care of the restlessness in my heart.

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

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Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur writes from western Massachusetts where she lives with her husband and two sons. A Senior Editor with Catholic Lane.com, she blogs at http://spiritualwomanthoughts.blogspot.com

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