Thursday, January 26, 2012

Love in the Routine

"And of course, we must clear our minds of the idea that love is a warm, fuzzy feeling, a cuddly coziness.  Love is much more than warm feelings, lovely as such feelings are to all of us who are fortunate to experience them in one form or another.  Love is also (and especially) action and conduct.  We know as much from the experiences of our daily lives.  A mother loves in those moments of warm emotion when she embraces a child, or snuggles a baby after its bath.  But she loves the child also in the routine of diapering, packing lunches, and cleaning up household messes."
- J. Ellsworth Kalas, All Creation Sings

These beautiful words belong to my preaching professor and friend, Dr. J. Ellsworth Kalas.  He is pious in the way that used to mean something good.  He has read the Bible through almost every year since he was eleven years old, the only exceptions being a year here or there where he chose Christian classics to read iin addition to his daily reading of the Word.  And he is nearing ninety, so he knows the Word.  His is a life informed by that Word and it shows in all that he does.  I can assure you that it is just as much of a treat (or more!) to hear him speak as it is to read such beautiful words as those above. As if often the case with a word spoken or written by him, I am both encouraged and challenged by it.

I find myself encouraged and freed by his words first and most of all.  You see, I am a perfectionist by nature living in the gloriously imperfect worlds of motherhood, parenthood and marriage.  I needed to hear these words.  I suppose I already knew them deep within the recesses of my heart, but I needed to hear them nonetheless.  And from someone I admire and respect so much, well...this makes them all the more real to me.

I am challenged by his words because I often find myself rushing through the routine on the way to something else, failing to recognize the holiness of the moment at hand.  This applies to motherhood and everything else.  I forget what I am always saying to others:  Love is in the details.  I love John Reynolds and Jason and everyone else in my life more in the ordinary moments of each day than in some grand and glorious moment of intimacy when we share a hug or a kiss or a sweet moment.  Those moments are rare, though wonderful.  But the routine repeats each day, so I want to be present in the process.

I actually like the routine and ritualistic side of parenting.  I secretly smiled in those first few months of his life when I was having to wake up at o-dark-thirty to feed him.  I relished in those moments and I believe I was truly present in the routine of it all.  Somewhere along these fourteen months, I've lost that.  I want it back.  Or at least the feeling that what I was doing was showing love even if it didn't look like my {worldly} understanding of it.

Ironically, I think the secret of it all is not to think about it so much.  Just do what you do the way you always do it, knowing in the back of your mind (on your best and worst days) that this is the stuff of life...and love.  Know that you are showing your child, your spouse and all the people in your life that you love them when you just do what you do.  Whether what you do is lunches or laundry or even going to work, what you are really doing is loving the people in your life in the best way you know how.

So relish in the routine.  And when you find yourself resenting it instead (and you know you do), don't beat yourself up too much.  You are human, too...and we humans don't always feel all warm and fuzzy even when we are doing loving things for others.  I don't think the lack of fuzziness makes the actions any less loving, though...

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Photo Update!

A much overdue photo update below.  I aspire to actually blog, I really do.  I am trying to find the time to do so soon, as I have plenty of thoughts and possible blogs swimming around in my head.  These pictures of my little lovey will have to do for now! Enjoy!

John Reynolds on his FIRST Birthday!

Being silly for the camera!

At 11 months old.

Big boy at 10 months old.

My lovey at 9 months!