Sunday, September 1, 2013

In its Time

The nitty-gritty tedium of our every-day lives can be, well, tedious. Each morning we are greeted with what is often the same exact 'To Do' list as the day before. The laundry and dishes are never done. The children have to be feed and cleaned and prevented from causing each other bodily harm several times a day (that last one nearly constantly).

Our work in and outside of the home is repetitive. Day to day, over and over, we keep on doing what we have kept on doing. It is easy to get bogged down in this, to feel discouraged, bored or fed up with life as we know it. But we also know that this is not how we are supposed to live: 
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)
I have read several things recently that deal with this problem in our lives. I was first encouraged by a short essay sent along by a dear friend. In, 'The Duty of the Moment', Catherine Doherty says:
Or your duty of the moment may be to scrub your floors. Do you scrub your floors well? With great love for God? If not, do so. If you see to it that your house is well-swept, your food is on the table, and there is peace during meals, then there is a slow order that is established, and the immense tranquility of God's order falls upon you and your family, all of you together.
Your doing the duty of the moment, your living the nitty-gritty, daily routine of ordinary life, can uncover the face of Christ in the marketplace. Christ can come into the place where you work or play or eat. He will come into your home or into a restaurant. He will come into a school or a company cafeteria or a subway or wherever.
So this is what I mean. You, as a Christian, as a follower of Christ, do your duty of the moment. Whatever your duty is, you do it with great love. And as you do, the image of Christ, the icon of Christ, will be shown to people wherever you are — in your home, in your place of work outside the home, in your school, in the neighborhood where you live, in your church, in the grocery store, wherever you happen to be.
I have found that focusing my mind on that line, the duty of the moment, has brought more peace to my days and more clarity to my priorities. Sometimes the duty of the moment is finishing the dishes during nap-time. Sometimes the duty is resting so that you don't go crazy on your family later in the day ;).

 Next was an excerpt from a blog I read sometimes called 3 Things for Mom. Each day is a different guest posting a Truth, Tip & Find for moms. This particular entry was by Catherine Newman, who writes for Real Simple magazine. Here's what she says:
If you wait to get past the hard parts, the busy parts, the stressful parts, your whole life will pass and you’ll have just been waiting the whole time...Remind yourself that this is your actual life, your time with this person, a moment to experience and then move on from...
I am *way* guilty of the hurrying life along problem. I just want to get through this little time, and then it'll be nap time for boyos, or dinner time, bedtime...give me teenage years now and I'll give you the squirmy-mind-numbing-hair-pulling-toddler-hood! [Disclaimer: I get it. I don't want those years yet, really, the moments I do...]. But what Catherine points out is exactly right. The problems of yesterday aren't any easier than the problems of tomorrow will be. I have today, this is my actual life. Each moment, each nerve-wracking moment, each sweet and joyful moment, is mine for today. 

We "grown-ups" get lost in the monotony. We get fed up with the same-old trudgery and lose sight of what is actually happening. There are probably 5,000 million quotes about living for today and living in the moment and time flying by, so I will spare you all that. Consider instead what Chesterton has to say:

Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical ENCORE. Heaven may ENCORE the bird who laid an egg.  
(G.K. Chesterton, in Orthodoxy - source)
" spirit fierce and free"

Look around. "The Heavens are telling the Glory of God!" ...and they do it in beautiful repetition. The trees are ever fading in and out of each season, reminding us anew of Christ's Life, Death & Resurrection. Spiders aren't finding new ways to spin their webs; bees are making honey bit by little bit just as they have done for year upon year upon year. And yet all of blessed Creation is reflecting the glory and magnitude of the Lord whose "mercies are new every morning" (Lamentations 3:22-24)

Let us not grow weary. Let us delight in our days, take up the duties of our moments and recognize that this is our actual life. 
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not  to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, bIn ut the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that you may do the will of God and receive what is promised. (Hebrews 10:35-36)


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