When daylight savings time began, I leaned over to my son before church began and whispered, “It was so hard to get up this morning, with the time change, it was so dark and it was raining.” He looked at me with confusion written all over his face and replied, “It wasn’t hard for me to get up; we had star marshmallow cereal.”
How beautiful is that, really? That one comment put my whole day back into perspective. I’m whining and looking at the darker side of things and he can’t wait to get up for marshmallow stars. Now in reality, we have so many blessings in life that should make us spring out of bed each and every day, and shame on us if we don’t see this.
Everywhere I turn, I hear people worrying about the economy and focusing on doom and gloom. On days that I start to feel discouraged and find myself wondering if I am doing enough to make my corner of the world a bit brighter, I remind myself of these words from Archbishop Oscar Romero, titled Prophets of a Future Not Our Own:
“It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
“No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the church’s mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
“This is what we are about: We plant seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.
“We cannot do everything and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for God’s grace to enter and do the rest.
“We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are the workers, not master builders, ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.”
Now, I challenge you to look for the star marshmallows in your life, whatever those may be, and share these words of encouragement with someone else that may need to hear them. You never know when those words will make all the difference in someone else’s day.
–Shari Petree is the youth minister at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Tonganoxie.