Friday, April 17, 2015

The Squishing Makes Us Stronger

I love to make bread. I have ever since I was in grade 11, when I read a recipe in the Canadian Living, and instead of studying for my finals I thought I would give it a try. It turned out to be that best and tastiest procrastination technique ever. Then and now, I like to make bread by hand, not with a bread machine or mixer, but with my hands all wet and gooey.
The other day I was making bread with my daughter. We were kneading out the dough in the bowl and my daughter asked me why I was squishing the bread. I said we need to squish the bread to make it strong. The more we squish the bread the stronger it gets. She thought that was funny, but it started me thinking. I think it's true not just for bread. The more we get squished, the stronger we get. This seems to be true in my own life.
When I go through hard things at first I feel sad, scared and lonely. I feel like I'm getting squished and I can't see why it's happening. It often seems pointless but after some time, after some rest, I see that I'm stronger. I'm better, more who I want to be. I've seen this in friends of mine who faced tragedies and have come out the other side or are in the process of coming out the other side to be stronger and better people. Even in the midst of our pain we are growing stronger. Unfortunately, I can't always see it in the moment.
When I think of those times that have been hard for me sometimes I felt like God trying punish me or make my life horrible. Even though I knew it was not true I still felt like God must be punishing me if life was hard or that I must be doing something wrong if life was not perfect. If it's hard to get the baby to sleep I must have done something wrong. If my kids aren't perfect then obviously I am a bad parent. But if I stop to think a little I realize that it's the squashing the makes us stronger. It's the hard parts that make us better. If life was always easy, my kids were always well behaved, or the baby always acted like the books said he should I would never learn how to be strong. It seems backwards but it is when I am my most weak and hopeless that I learn strength and hope. If life was always a Hollywood movie then I would never be who I was meant to be. I would never know how tough I can be. So even when it is scary I need to let the squishing come. It is the only way to get strong. 


  1. I think this is one of your best posts ever! And it came when I needed to hear it most. Thanks for being the leaven in my squashed dough. Your friendship and courage make me stronger.

  2. Hi Monique, lovely meeting you and Augustine today. Happy to find your little corner on the internet. I'm enjoying your blog with a glass of wine before joining sleeping Gabriel. Poking my squishy squashy postpartum belly and reflecting on how much tougher I have become since his birth, in ways I couldn't have imagined. Fr Geddes was lecturing a couple of weeks ago about suffering and a mother's living prayer day to day. Sometimes it is difficult to see God's will when we are in pain and things just don't seem to make sense. But looking back, you can see how He draws good from it. I asked him, what if I'm so sleep deprived, spazzed out, etc. and I just can't remember to offer it up? What if I can hardly form a thought or prayer? He told me that very few people can remain in a state of prayer once a certain physical limit has been reached. He emphasized the importance of making the habit of a state of prayer in the good times, so that we can fall back on this and hopefully remember God when enduring great suffering. For example, if you walk through your kitchen doorway 100 times a day, try to develop the habit of saying a short prayer of the heart, such as "Jesus have mercy". Then build on that, when changing diapers, brushing your hair (if you have time to!)...etc. He then asked me to imagine my death bed. He explained that it will be 100x more difficult then. But hopefully we are given the graces to prepare ourselves and develop the habit of leaning on God and our Lady in the crosses we face as wives and mothers.

    1. I think Fr Geddes is right on, If we make prayer a habit then it is easier in those moments of exhaustion. I also find it helpful to remember that the act of loving is a prayer, even if we don't feel it. Getting up to feed the baby even when we are tried IS prayer.

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  3. I totally agree with Fr. Geddes. If we make prayer a habit it comes easier in the tough times. I also try to remember that showing love even when we don't feel like it is prayer. Getting up to feed to baby in the middle of the night when we are exhausted IS prayer.