A sharing from a friend:
Yesterday something amazing happened. L. set aside her firmly held principle that boys in general and brothers in particular are the absolute worst, and snuggled up with T. in a Costco shopping cart. She opted to get buried under groceries with him instead of getting out of the cart, so that the only indication I had children in the cart was the giggling. And then held hands with him on the way out. She took a nap without complaining and cleaned up toys together with her siblings. Ate her dinner without criticism, and declared her very mundane day to be awesome. It was like a vacation in the best alternate universe. Today, we are back. –– G.R.
This post struck me. The little girl had a mundane day objectively. What did she do? She went to the store. She took a nap. She ate her dinner. These are normal things. This day should not be different than any other. The externals were the same.
The author writes that she “declared her very mundane day to be awesome.” Why?
She chose for her day to be awesome. She chose to love. She chose to connect with her brother instead of pushing him away. She chose to hold hands with him. Most of the time I’m guessing that she considered him an annoyance, not knowing quite what the author meant by “absolute worst.” She also chose, later, to clean up toys with her siblings, which included more than one boy. She joined in the activity with them. She chose to be loving to her mother in taking a nap without complaining and in eating her dinner without criticism.
I recently went on something like a church family camp — part Summer Camp-like fun, part retreat. It included singles and families alike. The last day there, I realized that I’d been feeling disconnected. Was I not participating in the games? No. I was. Was I not learning amazing things at the talks? I definitely was. But what I was lacking was a heart to heart conversation. I had not made time to have one yet. When I did, and was truly open with my friend, I felt the beauty of the experience and I proceeded to join in the campfire songs joyfully with the heart of a person belonging.
In each situation it was not the situation that changed. It was the girl or the woman, reaching out to love — reaching out to connect.
How often do we as grown ups hide from connection? I realize the parents who has to make dinner or a living cannot always be face to face sharing themselves with their children. But when we are with others — when we can be — how present are we? Do we hide in movies and the internet? Do we hide in things we know we have to do? Do we run from intimacy even with those who are close to us? I know that I myself have chosen to watch TV over connecting with someone, only to realize that when I turn off the TV and give them my focused attention how much more rewarding my life is. So many of us keep half of ourselves somewhere else. But is this really living life?
My challenge for you today is to reach out in love and/or connection with someone today. Perhaps spend time even walking around the backyard holding someone’s hand. It doesn’t have to be big. Maybe fast from something screen related — something. You can even take the time to connect with yourself if you’ve been neglecting your needs… but reach out in love somehow. Life is short, and we need each other. And like the little girl in the story… maybe your day will be awesome.
May God bless your day.
Bonus: Today is the Feast of St. Martha. Doing tasks that need to be done is not bad. Remember, she is still a saint. We just can’t forget presence.
Love to you all.