"We want life to have meaning, and want to be fulfilled, and it is hard to accept that we find these things by starting where we are, not where we would like to be. Our greatest spiritual blessings are likely to reveal themselves not in exotic settings but in everyday tasks and trials. No less a saint that Therese of Lisieux admitted in her Story of a Soul that Christ was most abundantly present to her not 'during my hours of prayer...but rather in the midst of my daily occupations.' (emphasis Norris's). The twentieth-century martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote from the illegal seminary he had established in Nazi Germany: "We prevent God from giving us the great spiritual gifts He has in store for us, because we do not give thanks for daily gifts...How can God entrust great things to one who will not thankfully receive from Him little things?" -Kathleen Norris, from Acedia and MeI returned from a lovely, restful time away almost a week ago now. Of course, I didn't ease back into the action here, but jumped in feet first, very early the morning after I arrived, driving the co-op carpool, back home to clean, unpack, and do laundry, back to pick up from co-op and then to a soccer game, and so on into the activity of life here. Back to traffic lights, back to interstates, back to shopping malls (well, not really. I haven't entered the mall, but I do have to drive past one fairly frequently). It would be natural, easy even, for me to mourn this return to schedules and places to be which can feel at times quite hectic; to miss the quiet of Erin's, the slower pace.
I haven't, however, felt mournful at all. Instead, I have felt a very happy gratitude for this full life and especially for Coty, Thomas, and Joel, the men at home, and for their school and work and activities that fill the days in this household.
It has not felt hectic, but abundant. Instead of feeling irritated at the need to drive 25 minutes in traffic, stopping at red lights, I have appreciated having a son who is a safe driver and the gifts of teacher and friends with whom I'll share the co-op day. Rather than being frustrated that the "to do" list is long and the hours seemingly short, I've felt glad for good work to do each day...
hanging towels on the line
making the bed
making pie crust
reading stories and doing puzzles in nursery
making the coffee
wiping the counters
making homework assignments
sewing a border
knitting a sleeve
scrubbing a sink
and for pleasures...
eating baby kale and black beans out on the porch
feeling cool air in the morning
watching soccer games
listening to Chopin waltzes
making applesauce in the slow cooker
identifying a bird by it's call
talking with the boys
going away for a day with Coty, even though the trip was to visit a friend in difficulties
walking in the woods with middle school students
seeing orb webs glistening in the sun
So very many good gifts. So many places to feel God's hand at work, to see His glory. In rest and in daily tasks. In quiet calm of rural retreat ...and in the car on 485 on the way to soccer. In and for all of it, I give thanks.
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