{SQT} Being Small Time Famous and The Ripples We Don’t See

Another week, another post about approaching deadlines. Okay, not just deadlines, I’m also writing about a funeral so, good times all around.

1.In order to make sure I’m making progress on my manuscript, I’m back to writing every day, ideally for at least two hours, while the boys are at school. Since that’s a large chunk of my day, I need to be intentional about planning around that time so I still accomplish (mostly) everything else that needs done around here (like laundry, grocery shopping, and the all important blogging).

For probably at least the last six months now, I’ve been sitting down most mornings and planning out my day, hour by hour. I have developed a good sense of how long many tasks take and how many I can reasonably fit in one hour. I still have my usual planner with a long to-do list, and weekly events, plus my trusty oversized kitchen calendar for all the family to see. But I found I was frequently stressing out over everything I needed to do and becoming paralyzed by all the choices when a block of time was open. It was very helpful to me to every day write in what we had going on, my usual daily tasks (homeschool morning meeting, exercise, meals, bus arrivals,etc) and then see where I could actually schedule some of those ‘to do’ items. Some days, it was very clear I would not be able to get what I wanted done; there really wasn’t enough time unless I wanted to stay awake until the wee hours. But knowing that at the start of my day just made it easier for me to prioritize.

Thankfully, most days, I would see that, yes, there was indeed enough time to get what I needed done, and even some extra. Now I could think about what did I want to do with that extra time, rather than be caught unawares by it and waste it on YouTube. (Although sometimes, I did plan to spend time watching YouTube because that’s really what I needed on that day. I tried not to feel too guilty.) Now that I’m trying to block out a large chunk of my late morning and early afternoon, it’s helpful to see when and where I can accomplish other things and it makes it easier to protect those precious writing hours. If you’re in an especially busy period of life, see if planning out your day hour by hour every morning doesn’t help alleviate some of the stress.

2.Along with wanting tons of material goods, my kids also often talk of their desire to be famous. They want to be recognized, powerful, and in Fulton’s case, nothing less than the ruler of the world. The longing for notarity, like the desire for possesions, I think is one of our base desires rooted in our fallen nature. Adults can choose to not order their lives around these things, but it seems to me that many kids go after them like a moth to a flame. For my part, I tend to remind my children that humility is a virtue, not fame. While they seek to be known for something huge, the people we tend to remember most and that have the greatest influence on our daily lives tend to be well-known, or famous, for their generosity, kindness, or understanding. Think of your favorite people from church, work, or your social circles; who are the ‘small time famous’ people in your life? Not all of us can be sports starts, celebrities, or Instagram influencers, but we can all be known for our virtues, and we can make an actual difference in peoples lives, vs just providing entertainment.

3.Someone who I’d consider small time famous was our parish priest’s brother Jimmy. Jimmy had Down Syndrome and he passed away last week at the age of 54. His funeral was on Tuesday and it was packed. Everyone there knew of Jimmy’s smile, his joy, and his love of the Mass and Jesus. When a mother is told her child will have DS, she is often given grim statistics and worse case scenarios. How I wish each of those women, and their doctors, could have met Jimmy. He couldn’t live independently and he never moved beyond a simple, childlike innocence but his life had meaning and value. The affect of his life rippled out far beyond just his family. and was more powerful than any celebrity endorsement. Most of us can only dream of attaining the joy and faith he modeled on a daily basis. We are burdened with cares, woes, and sins that drag us down and blind us to what matters. In many ways it’s easier to attain worldly acclaim than heavenly reward- though how often do we forget that? It runs contrary to all modern logic but, don’t aspire to fame, aspire to be like Jimmy.

4.Our family has directly benefited from Jimmy. Because our parish priest had a brother with Down Syndrome, he has always happily accommodated our family’s needs at our church. When we said the current ramp from the parking lot had too big of a lip for the boys chairs, a new ramp was made. When the boys couldn’t access the religious education classrooms, another ramp was added. And when I said I wanted to hold a conference for special needs parents, he was an enthusiastic supporter. I know families who fight and fight and still struggle to get the sacraments for their special needs kids. Or if the building is inaccessible, they’re out of luck. Because of Jimmy, we have a sympathetic priest at our parish and that’s made a huge difference. I don’t know how my sons will impact other people, but I hold out hope that by being able to participate in parish life, and life in our community, people will understand a normal, happy life can look different than what they imagine and from there, who knows?

5.I feel like anything I type now can’t live up to the previous takes, but I wanted to add that after Jimmy’s funeral, the older kids and I were driving home and starting talking about our funeral arrangements. I reminded them I’d already blogged about my final wishes, and so they started coming up with creative ideas for where they wanted their final resting places to be. Addie would like a bone of hers encased in a sword and hidden on an island that she plans to purchase at some point in the future. She also wants to establish a convent on the island and make the nuns the protectors of the sword… so I don’t know if that means she’s considering a religious vocation or what.

I think that’s enough Takes for this week. Even when I planned out my day this morning, I knew I’d be squeezing in blogging between several other things, so I’m happy I got this much accomplished.

Now it’s your turn. Write down then link up your Takes below. Be sure to include a link back to this post so your readers can find the rest of the Quick Take links. I look forward to reading your posts.

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5 Comments

  1. I love that your parish had a person like Jimmy as part of it. So often people with intellectual disabilities (or really any type of disabilities) are isolated from community, and church is inaccessible or difficult for them to attend or belong in, when really they need the body of Christ and the rest of the body needs them too. And it sounds like your parish was blessed by his presence and gave him a community of love and belonging in return, which is so beautiful.

  2. I’m having deja vu, so maybe I’ve already shared this… during your scheduled you tube viewing look up the World Down Syndrome Day video, “Dear Future Mom.” It is an incredible celebration by and about people with Down Syndrome.
    The video has a special place in my heart as an early childhood special education teacher and because it my first nudge towards Catholicism came in grad school when a friend told me she was considering abortion because her baby might have Down Syndrome. We talked and talked and talked about disabilities and she realized that she and her husband wanted the baby no matter what (she’s now a typically developing middle school student) and I realized that if I couldn’t support abortion because of a disability there was really no abortion I could support.

  3. I think we all want to make a difference in the world, and the drive for fame is because then we’d KNOW that we are. Standing on a stage with thousands of people screaming your name or running a YouTube channel with 14 million subscribers is an easy way to tell. But “small time famous people” just go about their lives doing good, and they probably never even know the impact they have on others. It’s probably harder for kids to grasp that kind of impact.

    1. Agreed. It’s hard to do something worthwhile without recognition (coughMOTHERHOODcough) and I think it takes real maturity to be able to do what’s right even if you don’t get a pat on the back, or ‘Like’ for it.

  4. Love this!!
    I don’t have an active blog, but I might start one just for the quick takes. ? So here is mine:

    I was exploring a neighborhood with a client who is due to move in two weeks. He is visually impaired and his family just bought a home, so we are familiarizing with neighborhood layout, landmarks, analyzing intersections, etc. The man commented on how people in the neighborhood liked to leave their trash on the sidewalk, and I told him “oh, it must be trash day in your town!” It was at that point that I realized, if you are a Coptic Christian who immigrated to America to escape oppression, and you have only lived in apartments with dumpsters, since then, and you are visually impaired and no one felt it important to inform you on the particulars of waste management in the U.S., that “Trash Day” sounds like some crackpot American holiday. ? So we spent half the lesson observing neighbors’ trash cans and discussing which bins are for recycling and how the schedule may change with the season. He is now entering into home ownership with a little more information than he had before, and he can lead his wife and daughter in the “trash day” effort instead of being the one who has to wait for the information because of his visual impairment and limited English proficiency. It’s the little things .

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