The house is quiet now, but once the doors creak open, the rooms will flood with noise. Paws will patter in the path after the youngest’s breakfast remains. The oldest will embrace the beloved, “stay at home day,” with pancake petitions and plans for play. “I’m cold,” on repeat, will lead the youngest to be picked up and enveloped in my arms.
The day will quickly turn into a never-ending line of requests and demands. They will be delightful Saturday ones, but commands nonetheless. I will enter fully into my specific role as “Mommy” within our family system.
There will be moments where I will let my mind wander to my own life to-do list. I will glance at my unread Mary Oliver book and pine for moments of quiet. I will glance at the couch and faintly recall a time when Saturdays meant relaxing and watching something mindless. I will imagine those sitting at the restaurant down the street, relaxing as if Saturdays were endless hours of opportunity.
And yet, I will try again to remember what I know to be true – that this role of one who nurtures human life, protects it from harm, and seeks to set its course in the way of Love is but the faint reflection of the One who does it in ways beyond my ability ever to grasp. I will remember that time changes Love’s demands and though the days are long, the years are short.
I will look into the eyes of these sons of mine, in their few minutes still, and I will agree again to the covenant I entered into wordlessly – to give my life, in reverent submission, to the lives entrusted in my care. Not because my children’s desires must reign supreme, but because the act of reverent submission brings me closer and closer to the mystery of our faith.
Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant,
and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave to all.
For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve,
and to give his life a ransom for many.
– Mark 10:43-45
I will try again to embrace, imperfectly, the choice to submit. It is not to adhere to the tradition of marriage or parenting, as if any theology owns the privilege of defining submission. It is not to simply ensure that the day runs smoothly. It is the practice of putting aside myself so that I might be the instrument for something larger. It is to embody the notion that our lives in human hands cannot compare to the power and the potency of our lives in God’s hands.
I will pause and give thanks for simply the opportunity to try again, aware that my success is found not in accomplishing perfection but rather in standing in gratitude’s shoes as I walk through another day granted in the journey.
“When humility delivers a man from attachment to his own works and his own reputation, he discovers that perfect joy is possible only when we have completely forgotten ourselves. And it is only when we pay no more attention to our own deeds and our own reputation and our own excellence that we are at last completely free to serve God in perfection for God’s own sake alone.” – Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation