I am up early this morning, before the little ones. In my closet-office (where I sit in a corner at a small desk, typing this under a rack of hanging clothes), I am armed with a steaming mug of Darjeeling tea, a couple of Cinnamon-Orange-Almond-Spelt muffins, and the promise of a glorious uninterrupted hour of writing and thinking and praying (thanks to my eleven-year-old-daughter, who woke early with me and is drinking her own cup of tea in the kitchen, on call for me if the babies wake). The quiet of this moment is such a luxury. It is the only time I have to process what is happening in my life. Where we have been, where we are headed. What it all means.
Any moment, this house will start to wake. By breakfast time, the clatter and clamor of questions will overtake me. Food on the table, conversation, spilling drinks, refilling drinks, clearing the table, memory work, violin practice, piano practice, ukulele practice, math, reading, throwing in a load of laundry, reminding people to pick up toys, dishwasher, managing schedules, lunchtime, clean-up, quiet time, piano lessons, throwing in another load of laundry, dinner, conversation, spilling drinks, refilling drinks, clearing the table, dishes, sweeping, toys, vacuum, all the little rows of teeth, diapers, bedtime, bedtime, bedtime…
Life is such a blur.
It is so easy to lose sight of what this is all about and to just drown in the relentlessness of these needs that hit me, one by one, minute by minute, day after restless night and day.
In the stillness of this morning, I am seeing clearly. There is something that I need every day of my life. Before my eyes ever open. More than coffee. More than tea. More than food. More than a few moments of peace and quiet. I need it as desperately as I need the air I am breathing.
I have prayed for vision all my life. I needed it when I was young. When I was standing on the edge of girlhood and womanhood, when I was looking into the future, imagining myself living with the man I now call my husband, when I thought of us building our lives together, I prayed for vision. I didn’t really know for sure if we were meant to be together. But I thought we were, and God gave me just enough faith to say yes to forever.
Fast forward fifteen years. We are expecting our seventh child in May. God, if I have ever needed vision in my life, I need it now. Not only vision for myself, but for each of these fearful, wonderful, unique-in-this-world souls that share life with us. I need it for making the days run smoothly in a home where eight (soon to be nine) people wake and learn and eat and grow and have needs and desires and ambitions great and small. I need vision for keeping some kind of order in this house, for homeschool, for understanding my own purpose in the midst of motherhood, for surrendering more profoundly to marriage and the gifts and struggles it brings, for tempering and channeling all of the creative ideas that spill out the windows and doors of this little house. For cultivating the beauty you have planted in each of these little hearts. Oh, God, I need vision.
I need vision to see that the mundane rituals of motherhood are infused with rich, deep meaning. Stacks of dishes are a symbol of a sacred gathering around the table, where we are looking into one another’s eyes, enjoying a meal, and sharing the conversation that is shaping our lives. Mountains of laundry are a symbol of life that is lived in every color of the rainbow. The evidence that we have had the joy of play, of getting dirty, of experiencing life with children. And that a life with children is a life with wonder.
I need vision to see that homeschool is not just about a standard, textbook education. But that God has created each one of these little people in my care to impact the Kingdom. That each life has a purpose greater than I can now comprehend. That their lives will touch other lives. And that the subjects of kindness, compassion, forgiveness, are as important as reading, writing, and arithmetic. I need vision to clue me in to who these children are becoming, how they are wired, how to lay down a broad foundation for learning and eventually help them to narrow the focus down to where their purpose and passions lie. I need vision to keep a flexible plan in place for learning and experiencing life.
I need vision to meet the ever-changing needs of these children. To see them as God sees them. To love them through their struggles. To make life work in every season. I need vision to create the barest of routines that we can plug our life into. To be disciplined enough to help all of these people to follow through day by day with a well prayed-out plan. And I need vision to see when this routine is no longer working, to get down on my knees and cry out to God for a new idea that will carry us through the next season of life.
Being a mother is teaching me that vision is crucial to finding purpose in everyday life. It is how we find our way. Living with vision is living in collaboration with God. And living in collaboration with God is where we find the intersection of the sacred and the everyday.