September 4, 2007

Finding the Sacred in Home

Last week was the first MOPS meeting, of which I'm a Mentor Mom, and I was asked to do a devotional. I was going to post it last week, but time went by...we went backpacking. So here's what I shared -

I was gone from home all weekend. I always wonder when I come home in what condition I'll find the house, especially the kitchen. I don't want to be a kitchen witch!

My latest stage of life has been with teenagers. Everyone makes messes, kids make messes; relationships are messy. Messes of teens differ from those of younger kids--they make their messes late at night, when I don't want to be up or in the kitchen.

We've made an agreement--that they attempt to clean up after themselves. I like clean counter-tops, but they can leave their dishes in the sink. So in the morning I'm a sleuth, trying to guess what they ate the night before.

Over the years I've really tried hard to stop a moment and think before reacting. It's not been easy because my first instinct is to respond negatively! Everyday I'm faced with choices: am I going to react negatively to the demands made on me, or am I going to choose to respond in a way that could bring more fun and joy and meaning to me and those around me?

I could approach the morning mess with grumbling, but I've taken on the attitude that each second of life is a miracle. So the dishes themselves and the fact that I'm cleaning them are miracles. How?

I have a wonderful home that people seem to want to hang out at. These teens have had their licenses for a couple years now and could be driving elsewhere (which they do), but they always return to our house. They are coming and going into the night. I don't always know who's been here, or who might be asleep on the couch when I come down in the morning. They like our home.

This attitude choice reminds me of Mary, Martha and Jesus. In sitting with this scripture in Luke 10:38-42, two things touched me. "Martha welcomed him into her house." Jesus returns to Martha's home often 'to hang out'. There must be a homey feeling about the place--good hospitality (notice 'hospital' in the word? I think of health-care and nurturing).

We typically hear about Mary's choosing to sit at Jesus' feet, and that's a good choice. Jesus didn't tell Martha to stop her home-keeping and sit at his feet, but did reprimand her for her attitude, telling her that she was "anxious and troubled". She was too 'self-preoccupied,' maybe self-pity, and therefore not present to Jesus in her doings.

In the quotidian of my daily doings there is the opportunity to be fully God-conscious, bringing joy to the mundane rhythms of life. Each morning, is a new day, to choose to love God--who desires to be present to me in all I do. In the repetitive mindless activities, God invites me to play. It is in the routine and the everyday that I find the possibilities for the greatest transformation. Done in a different spirit, what I think I'm only 'getting through' has the power to change me.

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"The sure provisions of my God
Attend me all my days.
O may thy house be my abode
And all my work be praise."
- Isaac Watts (Ps 23:6)

"I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble"
- Helen Keller

"Oi-i-i-i! Mrs. Preston! You make the lowest nobody feel he's somebody."
"You're not a 'nobody,' Hannah Hayyeh. You're an artist--an artist laundress."
"What mean you an artist?"
"An artist is so filled with love for the beautiful that he has to express it in some way. You express it in your washing just as a painter paints it in a picture."
-Anzia Yezierska "Artist" (short story)
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