I am slowly waking up and pottering around the kitchen setting the table for breakfast. I have half a half-closed-eye on my children and am asking my daughter if she has “made-bubbles-with-her-hands” yet this morning. (We are doing well on the whole “going-to-the-toilet-independently” thing yet handwashing is still a work in progress).
I try not to push too hard…
“Honey, mmm, I wonder, mmmm, where is the soap?”. It’s too early for me to be able to properly embrace playfulness….
Where is this nearly-3-yr-old of mine? I’m about to go and investigate when I hear her…
Have you ever spent time walking up a long steep hill and longing for the summit? Or gazing at the night sky wishing for the dawn? A map and compass give us information about the terrain we are hiking. A clock (and a Psalm) reassures us that the sun will rise again, eventually.
Our need for orientation, to know where we stand, is very strong. We long for an understanding of the physical or emotional terrain that we are exploring and I feel rudderless, rootless when I do not know what is around the next corner.
A big part of our work as humans is to explore, analyse and describe our experiences, our relationships, our world. We discover landmarks which we then name and mark in some way.
And the people who went before us? The people who smooth out the path in front of us? They help us by making maps for us, by pointing out the landmarks. We gain confidence for our journey by listening to their descriptions of the pitfalls, the hilltops, the success-moments they discovered. And when I’m walking up a steep hill I find it useful to remember WHY I am climbing it. When we look backwards through binoculars, objects look smaller. When we “zoom out” from the close-up, my focus can shift away from myself.
If I can allow my current battles to “look smaller” they come into focus, are placed in context. If I can make some kindof meaning of my struggle, if I can see “the bigger picture”, if I know some good will come from my effort, then it becomes easier to keep plodding on. I mean, when we compare our current suffering to the never-ending glory we’ll experience in Heaven…
Once upon a time there was an amazing little girl who was climbing up and through a climbing frame. Holding onto the wooden frame as she headed up towards the sky. Spinning around the bars and looking forward to whizzing down the slide.
It is fun, it is challenging, and her Father is smiling as he watches her aliveness and delights with her. Slowly this girl realises that her Father has stepped closer and that the climbing frame is starting to creak, starting to wobble. She slows her climbing to listen and look…. Her Father moves even closer and holds out his arms to gesture her close.
Wouldn’t we love to get a glimpse of the Holy Family as they went about their “morning routine”? To see Mary, Joseph and the child Jesus get ready for their day and look after their home.
How did they go about their normal daily jobs of living as they worked their daily rhythm?
I am confident the Holy Family’s home was filled with love and simplicity and natural beauty. I imagine an inviting home filled with the gentleness of Our Lady. And I am pretty sure that Jesus probably did some regular “age appropriate chores” as the three of them loved together side by side as they went about their daily work of living.
It is 7am on one of my husband’s precious holiday days and I wrench open the curtains, fling the window wide and shove an (unwanted) hot cup of tea at him. My sleeping husband had been promised a holiday lie-in and here was I, demanding his full attention and saying:
“Get up, we need to buy a trampoline. Now!”.
You see, I had checked my phone way too late the previous night, had been swallowed up by hysteria and fake news, and was now convinced the world was about to end. Or at least be on military lock-down by lunchtime. By which time it was absolutely necessary for us to have bought a very large trampoline for our very small garden.
At least that is what my fear-stricken brain had decided!
Completely illogical, I know. However, at the time, these thoughts felt so real and I did not recognise them for the lies that they were. It felt so true, so real, so necessary that it absolutely MUST be acted on RIGHT-NOW.
Has God ever delivered help or affirmation to you?
I’ve been contemplating on the ways God delivers help and sustenance and inspiration. Over the years I have collected some great experiences of people-met, gifts-received, books-recommended and conversations-enjoyed.
Some of these experiences have fulfilled-a-need, others have changed-my-thinking and all have increased my strength and faith.
And recently, some great seven-year olds helped me explore: