It was a Monday morning and the sun wasn’t up yet. My husband’s phone rang at 5:30am as I rolled over (is that possible at 8 months pregnant?), wondering who on Earth would be calling at such an hour. As it turns out, the school he teaches at was closed for the day due to snow. My alarm was set to go off half an hour later and I prayed that I’d find my work had been closed as well.
I checked the closure listing at 6am. And again at 6:10. And yet again at 6:20 and 6:30, but to no avail. At this point I simply had to get up, shower, and go to work. I hoped that since the vast majority of schools were closed, my drive wouldn’t be that awful. On a normal Monday morning, my drive to work is around 45 minutes. That Monday morning, however, the drive took me an hour and a half. It took me so long to get to work that I didn’t make it in time for morning Mass. Already tired from being pregnant, the early morning phone call and the commute that I thought would never end (I honestly considered pulling over for a power nap a few times), I finally got to work and dragged myself to my office. I checked and answered e-mails and phone calls and simply wanted to sit in my office and hide from the world. I’d made it to work and I had work to do, but Heaven help me if someone came by and actually wanted to talk to me, I was too cranky and tired for that nonsense.
Inevitably, however, the phone began ringing and people began poking their heads in my office. I honestly wanted to tell them to go away. I’m counting the days (and nearly the hours) until my due date is here, and therefore my maternity leave begins. I love my job, but in these final weeks of pregnancy I’m feeling even more drained than ever, and work only seems to exacerbate that – even on the easier, calmer days. On a morning when I’d spent forever commuting and missed morning Mass – and therefore the Eucharist – by 9:30am, I was spent.
As the zillionth person came to my office (okay, probably the second person) I realized that it was too early to waste the whole day being tired and grumpy. Yes, it was a sacrifice to be kind to people who had simple questions. Perhaps it was more of a sacrifice than it should have been, but it was a sacrifice nonetheless. But that is rather the point, isn’t it? Some days sacrifice looks like hanging on a cross after being beaten and spat upon. Other days sacrifice looks like being kind to someone when all you want to do is crawl into bed and sleep for a week. It isn’t always about the depth or the gravity of the sacrifice, what is important is that we sacrifice.
I could have spent the day biting people’s heads off – and believe me, it would have been easy. But we weren’t made for easy, we were made for greatness, for holiness and sanctity. We were made to be saints. I can’t think of a single saint who didn’t have to sacrifice something on their road to holiness. But I also believe that the smaller sacrifices build a habit of living sacrificially. Being kind to those people I talked to that day, in some way, helped prepare me for motherhood, for sacrificing for my child. Call it the ripple effect of sacrificing if you will, but rather than despair that the sacrifices will never end, this habit of sacrificing should give us hope when we look to Christ. He didn’t just wake up one day and decide to be crucified, He lived out sacrifice all the way to the cross: rejection in His hometown, abandoned by His friends, and misunderstood by most. This notion of sacrifice isn’t new, but embracing it, making it a daily habit, is – but therein lies the beauty of it all: sacrificing and drawing closer still to Christ.