Back in the day, when I was going to grad school in Ann Arbor, if one of my housemates announced that he was going to the porch for an “attitude adjustment” it meant one thing — time to pass a joint around. (I can say this in front of my parents now that 40 is in my sites, plus I have to support poor Michael Phelps.)
The phrase came to mind as I reflected on this day. Standing in the shower minutes before I was supposed to leave for Mass, I was feeling so put upon. Perhaps you know these feelings: “I’m the only one who ever does anything around here, I’m late because I have to help everyone else, blah blah blah.” (I say “blah blah blah” because that’s about the level of originality my thinking achieved.)
Knowing that I was going to be quite late, thinking of abandoning Mass altogether, I forced myself to go, because I knew there was an excellent chance that I would come away feeling much differently. And yes I did. In fact, it was one of those Masses where you feel like the readings and the homily are speaking just to you. (Which is a good thing to remember when they aren’t speaking to you — someone else may be getting a turn.) During the homily I couldn’t stop grinning, and I had to work not to laugh out loud.
My goodness, I’m laughing again, seeing the first reading, which I missed in my lateness. It is, of all people, Job, saying,
Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery?
Are not his days those of hirelings?
He is a slave who longs for the shade,
a hireling who waits for his wages.
Such were my own thoughts this morning, before Mass. Yet as my pastor continued speaking about not just giving and serving, but pouring out ourselves, my whole mood lightened. I didn’t feel guilty about my feelings of martyrdom, they just blew away completely. It didn’t hurt that my girls were not only extremely well behaved during Mass, but cuddly and affectionate as well, so that every time the pastor said the word “love” a little girl was squeezing my hand or putting herself under my arm. Though the sentiments were not new to me, they somehow overcame their mundane familiarity enough to make me see, and hear, and enjoy it so much I wanted to laugh.
I had a major attitude adjustment, and it has lasted through a long Target trip, an afternoon of working, cleaning the neighbors’ cat litter, and making Valentine’s treats in a messy kitchen with messy girls. And if I have the munchies I can only blame it on the chocolate-mint-dipped Oreos with sprinkles.