Photo credit: St. Jude Youth Ministry

Photo credit: St. Jude Youth Ministry

It is four days shy of a month since my last post and I’ve been itching to fill you in on what’s been going on. Much of what’s been going on is a lot of travelling the last five weeks – a mix between business and pleasure. 

On 27 June, my wife and I left on a two week vacation to Red Lodge, Montana with stops in Olathe, Kansas and Rapid City, South Dakota. By the time we returned home on 11 July, we had logged almost 4,300 miles. (In the next few days I hope to post about our trip.)

On Monday the 13th I packed up and hit the road again for business in southern Indiana. After staying three nights in different hotels, I returned home on Thursday evening, the 16th.

By the time I got home I was whipped, mentally exhausted. I would have liked to sit down and veg out but I had two things tugging at me. The first was a yard which hadn’t been mowed in a month, during which time we had had record amounts of rainfall. With nearly knee-high grass, it was starting to appear like no one lived at my home.

The second was a regularly scheduled monthly Ultreya meeting at church that evening with men and women who have lived a Cursillo retreat. At this meeting we share with each other how our prayer life has been, what we’ve been studying to increase or deepen our knowledge of our faith, and how we’ve lived our faith to set an example for others.

As much as I enjoy these meetings, I just couldn’t make myself go that night. I let the yard work win and I told my friend Clay that I wouldn’t make it to the meeting. Although I had a legitimate excuse, I started hearing that little voice in my conscience tell me otherwise and I knew I was hiding from the truth.

Yes, the truth was that I was exhausted. But, even more so, the truth was that I didn’t want to be embarrassed. The truth was that I had gone three weeks with the only spiritual-ness on my part being attending mass each of the Sundays I was away. The truth was that I hadn’t prayed, I hadn’t studied and I hadn’t been much of an example of Christian living in close to a month. At least it didn’t feel like it to me. And, I didn’t want to admit it to my friends.

I retired from the yard work around dusk, came in, cleaned up, and ate a bite. The guilt I’d been feeling for the hour or two before, after I realized the real reason I stayed home, was working on me. Knowing I needed desperately to get back in the groove, I decided to put off going to bed until after I had at least read that day’s scripture passages.

I read from Exodus 3 about Moses and the burning bush and God’s message to the Children of Israel. I read from Psalm 105 about the Lord’s Covenant. And then I read the Gospel passage for the day, Matthew 11:28-30 (NAB):

Jesus said: 28 Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.  29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves.  30For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Jesus was talking to me and He knew what I needed to hear! He was telling me to not worry about the yard – it will get taken care of. He was telling me to not worry about having been spiritually absent the last three weeks. What mattered was that I was coming back to Him. He told me that I should learn humility from Him and to not worry about embarrassment from others. He let me know that I am not the first person to experience this and I won’t be the last. And, He told me to focus on Him so He can replace my tiredness with His peace.

A few minutes later, before I lay my head on my pillow, I said a special prayer of Thanksgiving for His love and for His protection for my family and me during those three weeks when I didn’t make time for Him.

That night I had the best night’s sleep I’d had in quite a while.


(“Come to Me….and I Will Give You Rest” was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)

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