The Sharpened Knife

I don’t like cooking. There. I said it out loud.

I don’t like cooking, but I do cook. I learnt how to cook to be able to give nutritious food -and sometimes not so nutritious- to my family.

When I got married I didn’t know how I was going to cook 365 meals a year with a portfolio of 4 meals under my sleeve, all which included either eggs or something frozen that 20 min in the oven would fix up.

5 years later and I do have a better portfolio of varieties, some more nutritious than others… and I still have the common complaints of not enough salt, chilli or sauce, which is part of our evening routine.

A few days ago I was putting off cutting some onions for the Spaghetti both my daughters asked me to make for dinner. But when I finally decided I could not put off the preparation of dinner, and while I was chopping the onions I noticed the knife needed to be sharpened. I had this knife for a long time now and it is my favourite for these cuts. So I took the sharpener stone and sharpened the knife.

I washed the knife and started cutting the Onions once again. The sharpened knife was soooo smooth now that it made my job easy! I wished I sharpened it sooner! I’ve been chopping so many vegetables lately and everytime I was in the middle of it I noticed the knife wasn’t working properly, it wasn’t doing the job good enough, but at least it was getting the job done. So I kept cutting and putting the old knife away, untouched, blunt.

Oh if I only knew how many tears I would have saved cutting onions if I have done them with a sharpened knife. Oh if I only knew how quick those tomatoes and parsley would’ve been chopped with a sharpened knife…

And while I was pouring the onions in the pot I started thinking about God and how the lockdowns kept us away from Church… and yes, it kept us away from God itself…

I realised my daily life was getting harder. I understand that my children are growing and getting into different stages of their development that might makes us more tired, stressed, and alert (specially having an almost 2 years old toddler who is an explorer). But even if (thank God for that!) it is normal for them to grow and challenge us in so many different ways, I started thinking that maybe it was getting harder because my soul was blunt… Maybe my soul needed to be sharpened, so I can get back that “spring on my step” that would make me thrive once again in my daily tasks.

I cannot change my work at home. It is my duty: to feed, to change their clothes, to cook, to clean, to smile, to entertain, to nurture, to discipline, to teach, to wash the dishes, to fold the clothes, to put their shoes 20 times a day… These are my tasks, this is my motherhood. And it feels heavy sometimes because it also involves sleepless nights, co-sleeping kicks, pillows stollen so that the little head of my son can rest in the peace of my own pillow; those nights where you wake up because your child lost her bottle of water or the blanket rolled and she lost a sock… those are the tasks of a mother, all indistinctly during the day and/or night…

No one is there to applaude you at 2am, to encourage you, so slowly you notice you are running in low energy, both physically and spiritually… All of the sudden you realised that you’ve lost the sharp edges that make you the best of yourself…

Your children cannot get another “you” like when we go to the shops and get another knife. If we want to do good for our family we need the sharpener. We need to STOP for a second and look for the ONE because If we want to be a good mother we only need ONE thing: GOD. The one who created you and the one who created your children and gave them to YOU. Yes, YOU. He doesn’t make mistakes so if they are with you, He has a reason… and I’m sure is a pretty good one.

However, to find joy in our motherhood, we need to find God in the midst of it. We seem to loose Him sometimes which is why we need to KEEP Him in the middle of our life PRAYING. Pray everyday. Twice a day. Everytime you feel tired and drained: pray.

But, do you know what will truly sharpen you? The Eucharist. And to get the Eucharist we need to liberate our souls by going to Confession. I know! I know it’s hard! Maybe you are embarrassed of your sins or you think that the “thing” that it is weighting in your heart it’s not a big sin so why bother the priest with such a venial issue. Many things go into our heads, but they are all the devil’s work to keep you lost. To keep you away from God.

So, ignore him, ignore that voice that shudder you. Keep your eyes on the Lord. Think of the Eucharist and go to Confession. The graces will pour into your soul… and the joy of God that will fill your heart will pour all over your home: in each corner, to each child, and to your husband. God will make your home a blessed and happy home because the Holy Spirit will habit in it.

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“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12.

“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6: 16-18.

May God protect our Families.

Saint Joseph, Pillar of Families, pray for us.

God bless you all.

Liza, a Maronite Mum

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