Saturday, June 30, 2007

Mumblings of a Mommy Monk

Mumblings of A “Mommy Monk”

I woke up this morning at 5 am to a sweet little boy snuggling under my covers. I used to enjoy my quiet mornings alone with the Lord. My morning would begin with a shower, a cup of coffee and my Bible. Now, I wonder where that quiet has gone and I’m lucky if I get a shower in before lunch. As I fret about the lack of time to read my Bible and I grumble about being awoken so early, I hear a quiet whisper. You seek the scriptures to find Me, but I am much closer than that. Maybe snuggling my two year old is a deeper connection to Jesus than a formal quiet time. I remember that Jesus said we must be like a child to enter the kingdom of heaven. In some ways, this seems intuitive. Children are naturally more spiritual than adults. They are less burdened with the daily grind of life. They have eyes to see their guardian angels and to experience the hand of God in creation. Unfortunately, I have been indoctrinated with a belief that God must be sought solely by reading the Bible daily and praying in a quiet time. So, could I call it a “quiet time” while I am snuggling with my little son? I often get irritated that he is interrupting my “time with God”. Oh Father – forgive me! I feel so blind because I am realizing he is my time with God. God is present in that little boy in ways that I could only hope to understand. I am the type of person who enjoys looking deeply into the scriptures and finding something new by my in-depth study. How much more I might learn if I would just fix my eyes on my toddler who already knows that God is bigger than the boogie man; Jesus died for me; Jesus is making me a home eternally; and most importantly Jesus loves me! It seems to me that almost every deep truth I might discover could fit under those simple facts. If I could just remember that the kingdom of heaven is for those with a heart like a child.
I have spent the last few years investigating contemplative prayer. I long to sit in the quiet of the morning and watch the sun rise while I meditate upon God’s sunrise in my heart. But, alas, it is not meant to be for a mommy of three. Even if I am able to actually find a quiet moment when they are all sleeping, my mind refuses to quiet down. Though I am eager to hear the voice of the Lord, the worries of the world seem to drown out His whispers. Can a busy mom find a way to meditate on the goodness of God?
Brother Lawrence (a seventeenth century monk) spoke about practicing the presence of God. He found God in peeling potatoes and washing dishes. Could my relationship with Jesus be more static than just reading from the Bible and bowing my head? I have a tendency to think that if something is not blatantly spiritual, it is not worthwhile. What does potato peeling teach me? I dislike meaningless chores (like cleaning) that seem so completely useless. I clean the house and literally minutes later it is a disaster again. What’s the point? I wonder why it was so important for Jesus to wash his disciples’ feet. Didn’t they just get dirty again as soon as they left the house and walked on the dirt roads? I reluctantly conclude that service for no other ends than service itself is worthwhile. Acts of service provide an inner silence and solitude – my mind is emptied of worries as I focus on a menial task. My service prompts me to meditate on Christ the ultimate servant. His service was done out of love. It is valuable that I vacuum up cheerios for the third time today because it is done out of love. There is a great life purpose in cleaning toilets – serving my family with a willing and glad heart. If I do all kinds of great spiritual things, but have not love, the carpet probably won’t get cleaned. So, I suppose I need to start having a better attitude about my chores around the house. Even if it will be filthy again in minutes, it is worth my time and love and may even quiet my mind long enough to meditate on God’s love for me.
Unlike a monk, I cannot escape the worries of this world to seek solitude. Meditation for a mommy may look different from what I expected. Meditation means to focus and concentrate on truth. As I wash the dishes, I look out the window and see my children chasing birds in the backyard. I meditate on how God chases us until we surrender to His love. Scrubbing off the remainders of burnt cookies, I meditate on God’s cleansing power to eradicate my mistakes. When sleep brings silence to the house, I contemplate how each little person in my house is an opportunity for a new encounter with God. Being completely isolated from the world in a cloister may create a better atmosphere for contemplation, but a Mommy Monk can focus on God’s presence in every moment of an often chaotic life. To begin, I invite God to speak to me in the daily activities of life. I pray that the eyes of my heart might be open to see the depth of His love for me each moment of my day. I breathe in His breath of life and His strength as I breathe out my pleas for help, healing, and cleansing. A “Mommy Monk” may not lead a quiet lifestyle, but her heart is quieted before the Lord. Silence is only temporary but meditation is unceasing.

1 comment:

camorine said...

I wish I had someone to come alongside me when I was raising my family to show me a fresh perspective as this does. Children are a gift from God and He uses them in women's lives to bring them to a deeper walk with Him. Thanks Heather!