revived by hospitality

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It’s one of those rainy fall days where you want to get home as fast as you can and then stay home as soon as you get there. We had our twice-a-month two-family co-op this morning which always makes for a more scattered morning for us. My husband and I are getting good use out of our vans, as I left around 7:20 to take our oldest to school, and he kept the other kids to meet me later at church.  He his co-op job was leading Matins this morning, so he wanted to make sure he’d get there in time to get situated and vested.

I pulled into the church parking lot early and had time to get my reading homework done before 8:30. One of my co-op jobs is to send out an internet article during the week for the parents to read and discuss while the kids have free time. Being gone for three days this week put us a behind on our co-op preparations and the kids didn’t prepare their presentations til this morning.  Thankfully their dad took care of that too.

Our co-op is unique and blessed in that it includes the involvement and presence of fathers.  The other one is a stay-at-home homeschooling father of five, whose mother recently moved close by to be nearer. The other co-op mom has a full time job, but her schedule allows her to take time for our meetings. It’s been a blessing to have another family to connect with, and while I’d like to see our co-op grow, it’s good for the children to have time with familiar and fellow Christian children. It’s good for the adults as well.

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I feel like my world has opened up a bit lately. I feel myself reaching out for those real-life connections, realizing that although our day-to-day life still very much takes place in the private sphere of home, the home is also a place to invite others into. You don’t have to be best friends to invite them over.  It’s like my heart is remembering, waking up to what’s in there, which includes a deep need and genuine love for other people.

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My sister and her family are coming over this weekend. They actually invited themselves, and how lovely, as sisters exist outside the rule of invitations. After co-op my husband had a lunch meeting for work, and I took the kids to get groceries at Aldi. With the weather being cold, and me being in a hurry, I had the kids stay in the van with a horse movie. Not a day goes by where I’m not noticing the differences of motherhood then to motherhood now, for instance, I didn’t have to bring them all into the store.

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We arrived home to find a red car outside our house. A woman was looking for the weekend quilting retreat. I had no idea what she was talking about, but while I searched to find where it was she had to go, the kids unloaded the van and put away the groceries. I (don’t) wish I could say that I praised them with wonder, delight, and grand surprise, hoping to provide a small reward for good behavior, but my response, in the end, was much, much less, and exceedingly more. It was more like quiet, thankful sigh of relief.

I don’t write any of these things to brag. When my kids were all small is when I first absorbed the notion of finding joy in small things. How do you repel some things and take in the others? Loneliness and depletion. The smell of a newborn’s head on my bosom. The way they looked when swaddled and sleeping. Within a few short weeks the baby had smiled, and you realized in that moment how contagious a smile was.

My aunt had a phrase she used to say when we were younger. “Happiness is a choice and don’t sweat the small stuff.” I think I’m merging two phrases, but she used to say both of them. “How awful”, I would think, “for how bad must life be if happiness is something that only comes if you choose it?”  Doesn’t life itself bring happiness to our door? I suppose it does, and even more than we realize. But that’s not what she meant, and maybe this is more like it–to stop and rest in God’s goodness one day at a time.

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