Snarls and Knots

We are body-soul composites. That being said, the physical world is much more in our face and therefore, for most of us, it is easier to notice and relate to. What I keep finding is how the realities of the physical world can also be applied to the realities of the spiritual world. Let me give an example of something that struck me last night while brushing my daughter’s hair.

I have a five year old daughter who is a bit of a wild stallion. Doing her hair has been a battle since she was little enough to swat at me with any aim and it continues to this day. Because it is such a challenge I have gotten in the habit of going days without brushing her hair (I know, I know…). By the time we get around to it, the knots are usually so bad that it takes a ton of time, ample amounts of detangler spray, she screams every time the brush pulls hard on a knot and I end up having to chase her down repeatedly to complete the job. Not a pretty sight!

Just this week she started kindergarten. Without skipping a beat all of a sudden I laid down the law that we were going to brush her hair every night before bed and in the morning before school. I implemented this almost accidently. Really it was because of the fact that I knew we wouldn’t have time in the morning rush to battle it out and you know what? It’s way easier to brush her hair, it’s less of a fight, the process is becoming overall more enjoyable and you know what, her hair looks beautiful! I was literally realizing this while brushing her hair last night and I had a thunderclap moment of “Oh my gosh, this is just like the state of our souls!”

How hard is it to review your conscience and go to Confession when it’s been forever since the last time you did it? When it’s been a year (or more)  since we’ve gone, the idea of making a thorough examination of conscience and confession is very daunting. Just like with my daughter’s hair, we don’t know where to start, we’re tempted to just skim the surface or throw it all up in a ponytail and decide that we are generally a good person and at least we haven’t committed anything really serious! But we’re missing out when we do this. We’re making a compromise that we don’t realize in the moment. When we wait a long time to “clean house”, it’s easier to miss the smaller snarls that eventually create big knots because we’re focused on the knots. We end up repeating the same sins over and over and can’t understand why, and we begin to doubt the power of the sacrament perhaps. But the thing is, when we wait that long, we’re not able to stay on top of those snarls that create the big issues.  When we take time each night to comb through our day, to identify each little snarl before it becomes an unruly knot, our life starts to become tidier, easier, more beautiful. I love this little analogy because it is such a strong visual for me now, and I can literally feel the release in my body where something I used to dread has now become a nightly ritual I look forward to, one that bonds me to my daughter, and a nightly examen to my creator.

I want you to think about a daily habit you have formed. Even if it’s just peeing first thing in the morning or brushing your teeth, I guarantee you have developed some consistent habit in your life! What could you tack on to that daily habit in order to incorporate something that you always forget to include? Is there some little thing you can start to do each day to make your life (interior or exterior) a little more orderly and enjoyable? For some of you that may be setting aside time to pray, time to connect with God. For others it may be actually putting your dirty socks in the laundry basket so that on laundry day all you have to do is grab it and dump it in the washing machine!

But truly, if you are Catholic, when’s the last time you went to confession? We can’t help it, we sin. We miss the mark, even when we don’t intend to, and overtime, those errors add up. They create disarray and they distance us from the One who puts our souls at rest. Maybe it’s time to tackle that rat’s nest in your soul, take it to the Lord and start anew at keeping it in order. Give it a try 🙂 

A new school year can be the marker of new beginnings for all of us ❤️.


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