On being a success

Originally Appeared in : 9810-5/10/18

The last 10 searches on my computer reveal the state of my life. Hairstyles for first communion. Vintage first communion veils. College acceptance: How long until I find out? When is FAFSA due? And also several articles about the pay gap for a paper one of my high schoolers is working on.


Life is moving at the speed of light right now, and most of it is good and wonderful.


The nice thing about being this busy, this “in the moment,” is I don’t have time to look around at what everyone else is doing. That’s actually a really nice feeling. I’m noticing what others are up to, but I don’t have time to feel too bad (or good) about how my tasks compare.


What a great way to live. I know that I’m doing what I need to be doing, and there is peace in the midst of it. God made it very clear to me several months ago that my focus needed to be on my family, and that I needed to do whatever I could to be present to my husband and children.


I’m struck lately by the responsibility we each have to use the gifts God has given us. We all have those things we are good at, things that come naturally to us. This doesn’t always mean on some “professional” level, but the parts of our personality and being that make us who we are. The call to use our gifts can be as simple as being who God made us to be — each one of us, personally.


In some seasons we will have time and energy to pursue a great many things. For me, right now, what I’m pursuing is peace in my home as I help my hatchlings leave the nest. Right now I find myself wanting to use every bit of my energy to just be present to my children, and to my husband. There are certainly things I’m called to do in the midst of that — pay the bills, clean my house, write this column, do interviews for the television show I’m on. But more important than any of this is being in a place mentally and emotionally to be present and ready to love.


The call to love is the greatest call God has placed in my life, in all of our lives.


It’s an honor to be in this season. We each need to say that. Whatever the season is, and whether it means a focus outside the home or within, it is an honor. We are privileged to do this work because it’s what God wants us to do.


The really beautiful part is that we are not limited by our own imaginations. God does dream bigger than we can dream, and our own hopes and dreams are an important part of this equation. As I find myself moving through these days of just floating — not sure what is next beyond loving my family and asking God to use me — I’m open to seeing what that means.


It’s what the saints did, and it’s the freedom each of us has. As Father Healy recently noted at Mass, Saint Mother Teresa was not a “success” — she was someone who bore fruit. She bore really excellent fruit. The key to all the goodness in her life was the close union she had with Jesus.


Yes, she knew how to bring her ideas to life, to take the small steps to move forward on her ideas. But her ideas, her hopes and dreams to care for God’s people, were closely connected to what she felt God calling her to do.


And that is what will bring true joy and peace to each one of us. We pursue a closer union with Jesus, and when we do he will use us mightily. He will use our gifts and let each one of us find the true freedom of being ourself — the truest version of the beautiful person God made each one of us to be.


Rachel Swenson Balducci is a freelance writer and member of Most Holy Trinity Church, Augusta. She can be reached at


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