Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I wake up rested and refreshed, and climb out of bed quietly so my sleeping children don't wake up. I make coffee and head outside to enjoy the fresh morning air while I read, think, and pray. I spend time thanking God for all I'm blessed with, I evaluate my heart and motives, I ask for forgiveness and help, I listen. I'm still. I read words that soothe, convict, encourage, inspire, break down, build up. I look up and they're awake. I smile, feeling centered and ready for the day. Off we go.

Yeah, that's my morning fantasy. Here's the reality:

I wake up because Silas is trying to put my glasses on my face. He hands me my phone, saying "lo? lo?" and I smile, blinking and sitting up. I think about coffee immediately. Ricky is leaving for work; kisses me goodbye. I hear the sounds of Superhero Squad coming from the office. I pull back my hair and head for the kitchen, heat up milk for Silas and remind Nicky that we're trying to start off the day with reading, not watching a show. "Well the day always starts with breakfast!", he proclaims, and I assure him that's coming. Penny stands at the back door. I let her out, and retrieve Silas' milk. He settles into a big chair to drink it; I pat him on the head. Nicky sits on the couch with his storybook Bible and starts to read about Joseph. I start some coffee. Silas drinks half of his bottle, throws it on the ground and climbs on top of Nicky, shuffling his pages. More protesting. Time for a diaper change. Nicky's now playing in his room. I sigh, say "Okay, we'll read later when you're less distracted." Silas plays, but when I stand up to go get my coffee and make some breakfast for everyone, he immediately starts crying. I go back. We play Ships--Nicky has built all the controls out of click-blocks. They dance around: toddler squats and robot moves. I smile and think this is so good. I get up again, they follow me. There is whining. I make toast with peanut butter and honey by request, pour orange juice, slice bananas. I stir cream into my waiting coffee, toast a bagel for myself. Silas, meanwhile, has eaten two bites and thrown the rest on the floor. All done! he signs triumphantly. I tell him he is going to sit there for a few minutes, and give him his milk to finish. I sip, and I read this:
Couldn't independence be not the ending point, but an adolescent transition period between childish dependence and mature interdependence? If we succeed in being independent, never needing God's help, couldn't that simply mean that we haven't tried anything very significant or challenging? Could it mean that we've never experienced the miracle of synergy with God, where we find God's strength flowing through us? 
"Book, book", Silas points to the ipad. I put it up high, take another sip of coffee, and let him down. Penny happily eats his leftovers. We have a doctor's appointment in two hours, but for now we're going outside to enjoy the cool morning air, water the flowers and play in the sandbox before it gets too hot for little toes. What's funny, what's God, is that I do feel soothed and convicted, encouraged and inspired, broken down and built up.
There are days, of course, when we wish there could be some other system. We wish there could be a way of developing patience without delay, courage without danger, forgiveness without offense, generosity without need, skill without discipline, endurance without fatigue, persistence without obstacles, strength without resistance, virtue without temptation, and strong love without hard-to-love people. But it turns out there is no other way. 
The Creator has created the right kind of universe to produce these beautiful qualities in us creatures. And among these beautiful qualities is interdependence--the ability to reach out beyond ourselves, to ask for help from others and from God, and to offer help when we are able. The whole shebang is rigged for mutuality, for vital connection.
I will probably yell several times today. I won't feel very spiritual. I will feel like I'm trying to sprint in a sand-dune. I will laugh, sigh, and hide in the bathroom. I'll try to keep a dialogue going with God all the while; that's the goal. Sometimes life feels like practicing, but it's the real thing, all the time.

quotes from Brian McLaren, Naked Spirituality

1 comment:

Ricky said...

I need to read that book.

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