There’s been a lot of chaos in my home lately. A lot of interruptions. A lot of loud voices. A lot of questions. A lot of (different) answers with a lot of subsequent arguing.
There’s been a lot of dirty clothes on dirty floors. A lot of laundry. A lot of unmade beds and unclean rooms. A lot of toys. A lot of toys. A lot of toys. Everywhere.
There’s been a lot of dirty diapers. A lot of potty training gone bad. A lot of wet beds. A lot of laundry. A lot of baths.
There’s been a lot of crumbs. A lot of food all over a lot of counter tops and a lot of floors and a lot of faces and even a few walls.
There’s been a lot of complaining. A lot of whining and screaming and fussing and bawling. A lot of bemoaning. A lot of protesting.
I used to be a spiritual giant—back in my younger, single days when I lived with my two best friends in a nice quiet apartment. Where did that holy girl go? What would she have done with this daily provocation from ten million angles?
These annoyances are “intruders,” writes Fenelon in his Dialogues. I love what he has to say about them:
The intruder whom God sends us serves to thwart our will, upset our plans, to make us crave more earnestly for silence and recollection, to teach us to sit loose to our own arrangements, our rest, our ease, our taste; to bend our will to that of others, to humble ourselves when impatience overcomes us under these annoyances, and to kindle in our hearts a greater thirst for God, even while He seems to be forsaking us because we are so disturbed.
Think about Jesus in the chaos of the crowds pressing in on him, shouting, begging, arguing, whining, and pushing. Jesus kept His cool. How did He do that?
Focused faith. He focused on what was true—and He trusted His Father to only give Him what He could bear.
Keep then to this simple rule: seek not temporary fulfillments, but bear in peace all that God sends you, against your will, to disturb you. What a delusion! We seek God afar off, in projects perhaps altogether unattainable, and we do not consider that we possess Him now in the midst of the confusion, by the exercise of simple faith, provided we bear humbly and bravely the annoyances which come from others, and our own imperfections.