Saturday, September 6, 2014
For You Whose Life Feels So Mundane
I'm thinking about you whose life feels so mundane, so daily. This is for you --and there are many of us--who feel so boringly ordinary and question if our everyday, unnoticed tasks have any meaning. A lot of us have difficulty seeing the sacred in the common moments of our day. It's easy to separate the physical from the spiritual. It's hard to see significance in what feels so menial. Whether you're wiping up the vomit of your child or you're working on an assembly line installing thingamajigs on whirlybobs or I'm rolling paint on a wall it can feel inconsequential and without purpose.
Micha Boyet, in Found: A Story of Grace, Questions, and Everyday Prayer, describes a season of her life when she did not work outside the home and so was the primary caregiver of her children. She had become acquainted with some of the works of the early Benedictine monks and was reading The Benedictine Rule.
"In the thirty-first chapter of the rule, Saint Benedict states something so remarkable that I keep coming back to it each night as I stack bowls and dry plates. He says, 'All the utensils of the monastery and in fact everything that belongs to the monastery should be cared for as though they were the sacred vessels of the altar."
All the utensils.
I take the sponge and rinse it in the silver sink. Nothing in this skinny kitchen is all that special. And I've been living as if my tasks as a mom, those daily mundane tasks--the brushing of my son's teeth, the wiping of his bottom, the dressing of his body, the kissing of his scraped knees, the soothing of his wild terrors--as if they were nothing significant, as if they were simply normal, what every mother does.
I'm mesmerized by Saint Benedict's words, that the monks should care for every tool in the monastery, from the garden hoe to the kitchen cleaver, as if it were the very chalice of the Eucharist, the tool that brings the blood of Christ to the lips of believers.
I am undone..
I'm not sure why I've been waiting for this. I'm not sure why I needed someone to say it to me this way. But with Benedict's words, I feel my world has been reborn holy. Suddenly my life, all these small daily instruments I am packing in my home, and the very sippy cup I fill with milk and raise to my son's lips, is an instrument of worship.
How did I miss it before? How was I so sure that God did not value my unimpressive daily life?
I see my reflection in the dark night window. My short hair is bobby-pinned out of my face. My red sweatshirt hangs loose from my chest. And in the reflection of the glass pane, I see it.
I am a priest. I am a priest of the gospel, holding the chalice to the lips of my son. Carrying the plate of bread to the hungry. My life has value because God has touched every mundane moment with the glow of holiness.
It matters. It all matters."
Grace and peace to all my ordinary friends and may you find the sacred in the simple.