Imagine my delight when this essay appeared at her.meneutics (Christianity Today’s women’s blog) a few days ago! I am two thirds through Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and “Women’s Work” and have had so many of these thoughts floating around my head. In her essay, Becker writes how her daily life of nursing and caring for little ones takes great faith — faith that God will transform these efforts into something that will bear fruit. She makes the connection, with Norris, that it’s the daily tasks, the repetition of changing diapers, washing dishes, reading the same stories again and again, that can act as liturgy. In the same way, our relationship with God can often feel rote or repetitive, but it is exactly this daily need that we have to engage with God that keeps us connected to Him. We are dependent on God daily, and daily, hourly, within each moment, need to seek Him.
I am so moved by the concept of finding God in the ordinary. My life is ordinary. My days are routine. My activities, predictable. And while I know that God uses storms to transform His children, I am also certain that He uses these days of mundanity.
One passage that I deeply connected with in Norris’ work was her description of a mother going to work every day and leaving her child. When she would return from work, home again, she always brought with her a peeled orange. The child looked forward to the orange every day, and when once asked what her mother did at work the child answered “she makes oranges.” First, I love the example of routine that Norris describes. I strive in our house to have touch points throughout the day when the little ones know exactly what to expect. These are important moments for us as a family, and they act as an anchor. It is in these moments that we are able to pause for a moment, to breathe. We are open to God’s presence more so in these moments, because there is a mindlessness to them. It doesn’t take great thought to brush one’s teeth, and because there is a freedom of mind, there is room for God to be known. It also calls us to live in that present moment.
Second, I love that the child ascribes to the mother the power and act of creating. The nature of mothering is inextricably tied to the notion of creating. Though my children are entirely God’s full creation, I had a part in bringing them to life. After carrying a child for nine (OK, really ten) months and then pushing that life out into the open, I felt empowered that creating, being creative, was naturally something for me to engage with. On a smaller scale, my daily tasks involve many acts of creativity — creatively problem solving, creatively engaging small minds, and literally creating: forts, paintings, stories. The archetype of creator that I carry daily is again another place for me to recognize my connection to the living, breathing God, who continues to create a new heart in me.
There is more I could say on Norris’ work, and Becker’s reflections but today I’m going to close with this thought from Norris: “Each day brings with it not only the necessity of eating but the renewal of our love of and in God. This may sound like a simple thing, but it is not easy to maintain faith, hope or love in the everyday.” I’m praying that as I’m standing over the stove tonight, preparing to feed my family, I will use the moment to be quiet before God and rely on Him to feed me.