Well, this summer is off to a crazy start. I spent four days in the Carolinas for an Edel Gathering site visit. Then, the very next week, I went to Phoenix for four days to give two talks and record videos at the Lifeteen training conference.
Bottom photo by @SrMariaKim
In case you missed that, let me spell this out: I was gone for eight days in a two-week span.
I do not have the kind of life where I can be gone for eight days in a two-week span.
The problem was that the Lifeteen event was at the beginning of June. I booked the Edel Gathering site visit for the end of May because my calendar seemed pretty open then, and it did not occur to me to click the button to bring up the next month’s calendar to see if perhaps I had a very intense event coming up the first day of June. (Yeah. It really happened just like that.)
Moving on with this story before I embarrass myself any further…
Suffice it to say, I am busy. Edel is coming up in just three weeks, I’m working on a website redesign (that I can’t wait to show you!), I’m writing another book, doing my weekly show on SiriusXM. Oh, and we’re having work done on our back yard.
Despite the fact that I always feel the pressure of having more things to get done than there is time to do them, I’ve been trying hard to keep my priorities in the right order.
I know from Pinterest that this is the right way to live, but it’s hard to do in practice. I’ll be at the frozen yogurt place with the kids, wondering why I was stupid enough to take six kids under age 11 to a frozen yogurt shop but feeling good about spending time with them, and I’ll see a text pop up asking when I’m going to reply to that important email from two weeks ago.
Today, for example, I was just about to go for a jog when I received a flurry of emails that contained urgent action items. They need replies by the end of the day, and I was running out of time. I started to take off my weird running shoes and get to work, but then I remembered that life-changing wisdom from Fr. Joseph Langford, which I once detailed here:
The work that Mother Teresa could not get to she did not think twice about, nor should you or I, since God is not asking you to do what He does not give you the time (or health, or resources) to do. So be at peace.
So I decided to go for the jog. The stuff I had to do today is important, but not at the expense of my health.
It seems like an insignificant moment, but walking out the front door in my jogging clothes was a potent symbolic gesture. It was a leap of faith that if I put first things first, my life might not completely fall apart — even if it meant not accomplishing as much as I wanted to in the day.
And I didn’t just go for a short jog.
I was tempted to turn around at a nearby corner, but I went all the way to the cul de sac that I go to when I’m doing a “full workout” jog. Take that, to-do list!
Just after I left the cul de sac, I saw a man in black walking up to a house. I blinked and took off my sunglasses, because it almost looked like he was wearing a cassock. Obviously that would be impossible in my suburban Texas neighborhood — around here there are hardly any Mass-going Catholics, let alone priests, let alone cassock-wearing priests.
When I got closer, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that he was indeed a priest, and that was indeed a cassock. Not knowing how else to begin a conversation, I exclaimed while panting for breath, “You’re a priest!”
He introduced himself as Fr. Michael Malain, a newly ordained Catholic priest with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter who was here visiting family. We had a wonderful conversation, and at the end of it I was able to get a special blessing — IN LATIN! As Fr. Malain spoke the words of the blessing, it was one of those powerful moment when I truly felt the presence of Christ.
…And then I asked if we could take a selfie so that I could prove that I wasn’t making this up.
It is actually not a normal part of my jogging routine to get blessed by a priest in Latin, so I felt certain that God was doing something here.
As I jogged back to my house, filled with joy and gratitude for this unexpected gift from God, I felt the words whispered to my heart:
Keep your priorities in the right order. I’ll take care of the rest.