Where does God show up on your calendar?
I pose this as a real question, not a rhetorical one. If someone found your planner on the bus or a stranger glanced at your calendar on the wall or a hacker gained access to your phone’s events, would they see any sign you were a Catholic?
Lest you think I’m the judgment patrol, this question came from flipping through my own family’s calendar.
Kids’ activities — school, sports and music — all appear to be important to us, evidenced by how often they show up every week. Ditto for visits with friends and trips with family. Business travel for both parents is marked on our calendar; so are birthdays, anniversaries and holidays.
But where does our faith show up? We’d tell you it’s central to our lives and family, but I started to wonder how our calendar bears any testimony to that truth.
I went through and wrote “Mass” on every Sunday. Obvious (and overlooked), but it helped to remember how we start each week in worship. Then I added the dates whenever someone was serving as a lector or altar server. That helped too, to see our service show up.
But honestly? Standing in front of that jampacked calendar and realizing how little of our faith was revealed gave me a wake-up call.
Because the deeper concern, of course, is not what someone else would say or whether there would be enough evidence to convict me of being Christian in a theoretical court. What matters most is what place God has in my life.
Front and center or stuck on the sidelines?
I stood in front of our calendar for a long time, chewing on the end of my pencil, wondering about what changes we might be called to as a family.
Too often I’ve fallen into the trap of expecting a new school year to transform our lives into an idealized version of what our family should be. I don’t want to make that same mistake again this fall. But I do feel called (and convicted) to pray about what God might be revealing.
Like everyone else, our family has limits of time, money, energy, attention and abilities. Where are we investing our resources? How do our values show up on our calendar? When do we live out and learn about our faith in concrete ways each week?
The psalmist sings this longing to God: “Teach us to count our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart” (Ps 90:12). Could this become our prayer, too — as we soak up the last days of summer, as we look ahead to autumn activities starting soon, as we shop for school supplies and brand-new planners to fill?
Each time I pass our calendar on the wall now, I pause for a second. It’s a work in progress, an ever-evolving reality, a snapshot of life right now. But I feel its tug asking me where God shows up among school, work and every good plan we’ve made.
Maybe we’re called to more Sabbath together, to guard our Sundays for worship and rest. Maybe we’re called to more service, to take time to offer ourselves to our community.
Could we celebrate an extra feast day each month at home, to enliven our faith as a family? Are we called to a retreat, a class or a group at our parish — something new to help us grow in faith?
Whatever changes the fall may bring, I know the prayer I need to carry with me now, a psalm in my pocket: Teach us to number our days with You in the center. Give us the wisdom to give our time to You.
Laura Kelly Fanucci is a writer, speaker and author of several books, including “Everyday Sacrament: The Messy Grace of Parenting.” Her work can be found at www.laurakellyfanucci.com.