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Easter isn’t over

April 12, 2012

I could use some sleep.

What I do must be done

each day, in every  season,

like liturgy.  I pray

to Mary Magdalene, who kept seven demons,

one for each day of the week.

How practical; how womanly

 

My barren black cat rubs against my legs.

I think of the barren woman

exhorted by the Good Book

to break into song;

we should sing, dear cat,

for the children who will come in our old age.

The cat doesn’t laugh,

but I do.  She rolls in dust

as I finish sweeping.

 

I empty the washer

and gather what I need for the return:

the basket of wet clothes

and bag of clothes-pins.

a worn spring jacket in need of mending.

Then I head upstairs, singing an old hymn.

From Housecleaning by Kathleen Norris

One of the best and most fitting descriptions of a person’s spiritual walk I’ve heard was made by Kathleen Norris in The Quotidian Mysteries.  To summarize, Norris basically says that a spiritual journey is similar to housework.  Those same tasks that I do every day and never seem to end correlate with spiritual disciplines and struggles.  Fifteen years later, I am still struggling to let go of those things that cause a chasm between me and God.  Just like the laundry never ends, there are always dishes to wash and toys to put away, menus to be made, groceries to shop for, and meals to be fixed, my journey away from my prideful self to a humble woman who relies on God for strength, peace, and hope is never ending.  I will always be who I am.  I will always struggle with thinking I can do it all myself.  I will always be introverted.  I will always be human.

That’s ok.

While occasionally I get bogged down in the repetitive nature of my life as a stay at home mom, I know that each little bit I do plugs away at the chaos that is my house.  Without doing the laundry, well, I don’t want to imagine that (especially since we’re still potty training over here).  Washing dishes allows us to eat off of clean plates and avoid food poisoning.  Putting toys away prevents toys from being broken and allows us to find the toys when we want them. Menu planning and meal preparation mean I am able to feed my children nutritious food that allows us to be good stewards of the earth.  The hard part is doing it all in joy and prayerfully.

Likewise, every time I confess to God, I am dismantling a bit of the noise and chaos in my soul.  I am cleaning the gray, smudged windows to let a little more of God’s light in (and consequently, allowing more of God’s light to shine through me).   When I repeat over and over, “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner,”  whether I am driving down the road or sitting in spin class, I am chipping away at the pride.  I acknowledge I am not good enough–that I can do nothing without God.  When I share with friends about how I failed to be a disciple of Christ, I am also humbling myself.

Without doing these things on a daily basis, just like tedious housework, things start piling up.  I notice then that I am grumpier.  Doubts sneak in and voice themselves louder and louder.  I wonder why I spend all this time doing what I do–praying, reading, serving.  The clutter begins to over take my soul, until I get out those tools, those disciplines, to start clearing a path back to God.

Last Sunday was Easter.  I would like to say, since that day when we remember and celebrate Christ’s victory over death, I have been living joyfully, celebrating Christ’s victories in my life.  I would like to say that my old self has died and I have risen anew in Christ.  But, I can’t.  None of that is true.  I wish it was.  I wish Easter in my life was a one time event.  I wish Easter came and I was humbled before God always, that I gave thanks in all situations, and that I always treated everyone with the love of Jesus.  But, it hasn’t happened.  Instead, I see that same pile of dishes, toys strewn across, and the dirty, stinky laundry pile still waiting to be done.  It’s good to remember, that like everything else with my spiritual walk, it’s not a one and done occasion.

Easter will continue to come for me, over and over.  I will continue to die to myself, my pride, over and over.  Until I see Jesus, there will still be messes that I need God’s help to clean up.  Despite the days when I wonder why I keep on doing it, I know the reason.  We have been called to love God and love others.  It is what I was created to do, even if I do it imperfectly, even if it is an endless task.  I have hope.  I have hope that God will work in the clutter and to shine through me, so that glimpses of who I am meant to be come out more and more.  I have been redeemed.  I am God’s beloved.  I am not alone.   Knowing that is enough.

Lord, through all the generations

you have been our home.

Before the mountains were born,

before you gave birth to the earth and the world,

from beginning to end, you are God.

Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love,

so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.

Psalms 90: 1-2, 14

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 13, 2012 6:19 pm

    Loved that- ‘Until I see Jesus, there will still be messes that I need God’s help to clean up’ so taxing it can be that feeling of constantly sweeping a flower garden. I feel it at work every day and at home but never allowed myself to realize I do feel that at times in my walk with him as well. Thanks for sharing and opening my heart up a little.

    • April 17, 2012 1:50 pm

      Glad you could find a bit of truth in my ramblings, Court. Thanks for your kind words.

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