“One of the most difficult, but seasoning, elements of life is simply the fine art of getting up every morning, or doing what must be done if for no other reason than that it is our responsibility to do it. To face the elements of the day and keep on going takes a peculiar kind of courage. It is in dailiness that we prove our mettle. And it is not easy.”
Dear sisters and brothers,
I think about this quote from Sister Joan Chittister at least once every day of my life, especially when I see the laundry that needs to be done, the toys that need to be cleaned up, the meal that needs to be planned and cooked, or the stack of work on my desk that I have no desire to do. And for a few brief moments every day, I imagine what it might be like to crawl back into my bed, until I hear a voice calling to me, “Mommy, mommy, mommy I need you!” and I have no choice but to get up and do the ordinary stuff that is my life. And most of the time, if I am honest, I don’t think of all the ordinary stuff I do day in and day out as particularly courageous. It is just stuff that needs to be done so my family and I can function.
And I probably would have continued feeling that way from now until the end of time, if it hadn’t been for one of my friends. You see her son has something called Chiari Malformation, which means his brain tissue extends into his spinal canal putting pressure on his brain. The past year for her and her family have been a whirlwind between getting a diagnosis, surgery, PT/OT, and a variety of other things that come with this condition. And for those of us who know her, we have watched in awe as she has done amazing and sometimes superhuman things to get her son the care and help he has needed.
Now a year later, he is a lot like other 4 year old kids. He still goes to PT/OT of course, and they still find ways his Chiari has affected him that will take extra help and time, but overall things have slowed down and become “normal.” They have, as my friend likes to say, settled into a routine. And she loves it. The dailiness, the ordinary, the joy she finds in being able to get her kids up, feed them breakfast, and then send them off to preschool, has been amazing to witness. You see, my friend counts each moment of ordinariness and responsibility as a gift, because for so long she simply didn’t have them.
And watching her joy in every day stuff, even from a few hundred miles away, has been enough for me to sometimes be able to remember what Chittister says in the quote above as I think about all the ordinary stuff I need to do each day. That doesn’t mean there aren’t moments when I still think about how easy it would be run away (i.e. run back to my bed), but it does help me to find small moments of joy in the pieces I am doing and in the “Mommy, mommy, mommy I need you!” request.
And so I wonder, how might you too find in the getting up in the morning, the going to work, the caring for loved ones – all the ordinary stuff of your life, God’s presence and gift of joy?
Faithfully yours, Pastor Rebecca