Thursday, June 17, 2010

Do Simplicity, Focus, and Recollection Characterize your life?

No?  Huh.  Mine either.  But it kind of sounds nice, doesn’t it?

This is a question that I’ve been thinking about lately, and it came from a list that is used as an aid in an Examination of Conscience. 

An Examination of Conscience is pretty much what it sounds like – taking a few minutes at the end of the day to think about the choices and decisions you’ve made throughout the day, as well as your thoughts and actions, and seeing how they line up with what you believe is God’s will for your life.  Some things are pretty easy – the next time M sprinkles glitter all over the kitchen floor I’ll try to remember gentleness and patience are a better path to take than yelling and turning into Crazy Mommy.  And some things take a bit more soul-searching – did I spend my time wisely today?  Did laziness keep me from completing all the *reasonable* duties of the day, or was I honestly trying to do too much? 

It’s nice to do this on a daily basis – improvement in our (my!) spiritual life will only happen if we are conscious of our weaknesses.  

The main thing to remember in order to not get discouraged when I have several bad days in a row is that there is always grace.  Grace to start over again, and get back on track. 


Moderation in all Things

This aid in an Examination of Conscience was written by Joseph Michalak, and based on the virtues (patience, love, temperance, hope, faith, etc.).  It asks a series of questions for each particular virtue, and assists one in thinking about the day.  This particular question comes from the section on temperance, or balance – something we are always talking about and striving for, right?  That elusive balance that will make everything go smoothly and everyone happy forever and ever.  The end. :)

There are several other good questions in this section too; questions like…

  • Do I live a blanced and integrated life?  Do I recognize the signs of imbalance?
  • What is a healthy pace of life for me?
  • Am I gentle, especially in teaching and in giving correction?
  • Do I find myself preoccupied with what others think of me?
  • Do I aim at excellence in those things God has given me to do?
  • Am I at home with silence?


Tranquility of Mind

But the one in the title of this post is the one I can’t stop thinking about.  Do simplicity, focus, and recollection characterize my life? I wasn’t even sure what was meant by “recollection”.  Here’s the definition:

Main Entry: rec·ol·lec·tion

Pronunciation: \ˌre-kə-ˈlek-shən\

Function: noun

Date: 1624

1 a : tranquillity of mind b : religious contemplation

Life never seems simple, but why shouldn’t it be?  Why shouldn’t we be tranquil and given to contemplation?  Why should it be so hard to just say no to some things? 


Having a Plan

I love to plan.  I actually have been known to spend so much time and energy in making plans that I’m worn out before we even begin doing anything.  I think having a plan for our days is a good thing, to the extent that it brings a sense of order to our life and our home, and leads to simplicity and peace

However, this is seldom the case with my planning, and I know I’m not alone here.  Why does having a plan have to mean enrolling my child in every available activity this summer, and then spending time rushing around everywhere?  Sometimes we moms even get anxious if we are facing time alone with our children and have no set plan. 

Well.  I’ve started taking some decisive actions to begin living this kind of life.  It won’t happen all at once, and I’m sure things will have to be tweaked here and there, but I’m aiming for peace in my heart and in my home.  A lot of this will be changing habits, creating a more orderly home, freeing up time, being quieter and more thoughtful throughout the day, focusing on what’s important and trusting that God will help me do what’s necessary each day in order to meet this goal.  Or at least get close to it. ;)

I guess that’s my teaser for the series I’ll be writing detailing these changes.  Stay tuned!

Have a beautiful and peaceful day! :)


  1. Beautiful, beautiful post! Thank you for writing this.

    I'm too am working on all of this. I found myself getting very defensive when aim gave a talk about the importance of being home - staying home instead of rushing to activities, playdates, the mall. Then when we do stay home I'm guilty of trying to schedule and plan too much.

    I haven't found answers yet, but this is something I'm really working on too! Goodness, you always seem to write about things that are close to my heart. I think you should move next door to me... So we can get together and chst instead of living lives of tranquility on our own homes, haha!

  2. I am very interested in reading about your efforts. I deliberately try not to overschedule Anna with playdates and activities, so we can still have a quality time together. Your comment about "crazy Mommy" cracked me up - I've so been there and then was ashamed of myself thinking how little it means in the general scheme of things. Good luck!


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