The past several days have been difficult – not in their entirety, but overall. When I started this series, I had a sense of some things that might come our way mid-month and they did. Other unexpected things piggy backed on those, and so for five days we seemed to weather one crisis or challenge after another. The word ‘weather’ makes me laugh, because over all of it was the actual weather – remnants of a typhoon – but the actual weather seemed mild in comparison to life.
Hello, Full Moon. We always seem to swell at your rise.
But this series came to mind several times over the long weekend, in a grounding sort of way. The desire to run and spend all the money I don’t have on warm sweaters and cozy shoes and other things that might make the hurt in the heart feel better would be abated by the words “sacred smallness” and Laura’s description of “a gathering-in”. These are the heart things, here we are in them, and being in them is the work of the moment. This is what we do.
My older children and I have created kind of a routine for the evenings – with work, my husband is often gone – and it started with the six year old. This child unwinds from her loud day with coloring. One evening I caved to her request to color with her, and you guys. I zone out and relax as much as she, and it has become this significant touch-point (with each other) in our day. I never would have looked for it.
Well, slowly the other kids started joining in. So here we are, four bigs (our six year old is big or little depending on the need of the mother or the want of the child, ahem) and myself, and it’s this down time of coloring and reading and puzzle books (well, okay, and Lego and PRETEEN BOY EXERCISE – pushups! sit-ups! hand-weights! huzzah! When will we be old enough to join a gym? Are my pecs just bulging tonight?).
I was thinking tonight, as my daughter and I shared a paper, of the significant challenges of the past few days, and how the gathering in (or gathering up) of my heart – this sacred smallness and this Real Life Is Now – is not just a discipline, but a gift. My heart is more quickly remembering where she’s supposed to turn.
Just before bed my daughter tired of coloring patterns and drew a picture of her papa and I instead. Papa has a hat and hands in his pockets. I have boots and fluffy arms. There is a turtle climbing a tree and ants (long black lines) walking on paths. There are flowers and sunshine, and three hearts. One heart is for the sunshine. Another, for a flower. “But this great big heart, Mama, is touching your head because you will have six children and you will need a lot of love so you can give love to us, so I drew it for you.”
Also, my daughter says “chuching” for touching, and it makes the whole thing even more cute.
Yes, lots of love. I think I might need a heart like that floating around and chuching my head all day long, you know what I’m mean? Because well, yes, and please, Jesus.
After coloring was over I had a need for an old photograph and went hunting through a bursting picture-bin. I never found it, but pulled out pictures I’d forgotten. Pictures we’d taken 12 and 10 years ago, when there was just one baby and I was 24, and just two babies and we were only a wee bit older. We were like kids, David and I.
Sometimes you look back and you see the single thread connecting your life. The older I get (and I know I’m still young) the more I can recognize things in my own history as True or Untrue. This thing, this choice, this relationship – that was true to who I am, true to my heart. That thing, or choice, or relationship – that was false to who I really am, or who as a family, we really are. It’s incredibly humbling.
But the world may go to hell and the political season may continue bitterly, and hard things come to bite the heart and the hand we offer back to them, and there’s still this. There are truer truths marching solidly through our stories. There is Truest Truth weaving a straight line in our hearts. We are who we are and its silly to be anything else, and we want to tap into that Truest Truth and just live there. Live there with God. Live there with the people he’s given us to love. And from that place, gather up and go forward.
“These three remain, faith hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Well, there’s also this:
… but that’s a different story. (And here I would enter a winking emoticon but that in your RSS feed the emoticon shows up as large as your screen, so I won’t. Ha!)