“Shave by the Headlights.” Ok, that may seem non-sensical. And explaining might make it more confusing. But let me try. I hate shaving. When I entered religous life, I was tramatized by the fact that now I had to shave EVERY DAY! I would whine about it, try to not shave, and get called out by my superiors for not shaving. One day in Mexico, the head of our community said to me, “Shave by the Headlights.” Huh? I literally pictured taking my razor and shaving in the early morning hours by the light of our car’s headlights. He went on to say that when driving it is always much easier to drive by the light of the headlights, able to see what is in front of you and just dealing with it. Imagine if you tried to drive only by looking behind you, or if you always had to backtrack to catch the turns that you missed because you are reacting after the car has passed. If we take care of unpleasant tasks first thing when they present themselves, they just are no real big deal. It is the agony, whining, and avoidance that make simple tasks a big deal. Or to use another cliché, we can avoid turning mountains into molehills by just shaving by the headlights.
Yes, I still sometimes celebrate a day off by not shaving (even if I spend all day working, I feel as if I got some sabbath rest)! But the ridiculous image of literally taking a razor and shaving in the headlights of my car so stuck with me that I now use it to rally my will and strength to some unpleasant task.
And one more insight that I discovered at a young age: household chores could be accomplished in a fraction of the time when done willingly and cheerfully! I found that if I did my Saturday morning chores while my parents were at the morning Mass, I could be done before they got home and have the rest of the day for play! Yeah, at first they were so shocked that they would let me off with less work required, but the real key was found in freely and generously embracing these duties!
Maybe going to confession is your personal version of shaving or Saturday morning chores. Maybe it is saying your daily rosary, or reading scripture, or whatever daily devotional prayer you might have. In what way do you need to “shave by the headlights?”
Fr. John Mosimann