I tried to take the day off today. Well, within the boundaries of still having to care for my kids. But I had a plan to rest, read, and knit after a long week of work on the house. Somehow, in my planning, I forgot that kids do not really know how to relax and by 9:40 things were already falling apart.
We ate some peaches, they were mealy. We tried to go outside, there were hornets. We tried to play with some new homeschooling games and they were having trouble sharing. Finally, they went downstairs and I decided to pull out some of the mealy peaches and stew them. A little water, some all-spice and cinnamon. Yum! It's like joy and comfort in a bowl.
Just as I sat down to eat the fragrant tasty comfort peaches, one child came upstairs looking for someone to play with. I was 5 sentences into my book and I wanted to read. I just wanted to eat stewed peaches and read. I wanted to ignore the person needing someone to play with. I'm not an "entertain my kids all the time" kind of person. Boredom breeds creativity and we try to encourage that but there was just a moment where I realized I had a choice. I could brushoff my kid or I could share my peaches and play a game. Today I felt like I had space to play.
So there we were sitting on my unwashed kitchen floor, playing memory, and slurping spiced peaches. A beautiful little moment hidden away from the world's eye. A holy and sacred moment observed only by God. A moment where loneliness was kept at bay and sacrifice and friendship were offered.
Being a parent, especially one who stays home, is both hard and beautiful for this very reason. It's an unseen and hidden life in a world that values being seen. All over the world there are parents awake in the day and night soothing and providing comfort to small children and babies. While the world sleeps, they keep the night watch for some of the most vulnerable. The world only sees the tired wrinkles around their eyes or spit up on their shirt.
In Matthew 25, Jesus tells an apocalyptic parable where all the nations of the world are gathered and God is separating the people into those that will enter paradise with Him and those that will not. To those that He welcomes to eternal life with Him He says this,
"I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me. Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Sounds like a description of parenthood to me.
In those moments that no one else sees we are communing with Jesus and receiving a greater understanding of how He loves us in the same way. This act of ministry is so terribly ordinary, humbling, and sanctifying. But when we offer sacrifice and experience suffering we are brought into a special intimacy with Christ.
Today I was thankful for the prompt of the Spirit and the grace to respond to sit and share what I had to eat and be a friend to someone who needed a friend. To enjoy a holy, unseen moment with Jesus on the kitchen floor.