Some good friends and I have begun reading Tish Harrison Warren’s Liturgy of the Ordinary together. I started this book because Alex heard about it and bought it on Kindle for me for Valentine’s Day. Someone may think that’s not overly romantic (I beg to differ) but if you do, please know I also received flowers and chocolate. This book–does he know me, or what? I hadn’t finished the first chapter before I knew I didn’t want to read it alone and I didn’t want to read it fast–the diploid test of excellence in inspirational literature.
Warren writes about the fuzzy moments when you first wake up, the space before the day begins when you awake confronted anew with who you essentially are and who your God is. “Each morning in those first tender moments–in simply being God’s smelly, sleepy beloved–I again receive grace, life, and faith as a gift” (Here’s where you would find a page number if Kindle did old-fashioned things like that). Such a good reminder, friends. Simple truth that disintegrates all my wonderings if what I do and how I spend my time and who I am are worthwhile.
Mondays, unshockingly, are not usually among my favorites. The to-do lists seem longer, the children higher-maintenance, and there are all the routines for the week to establish and begin. It’s up early, morning routines and cooking breakfast and running the boys to preschool and in our chairs before 8 for school. We’re homeschooling two of the four at the minute, so this week Monday morning was highly educational, interrupted only to run somebody in to gym class. There was a gap around 11, and I had just enough time to get bagel dough rising in the oven and knead some wheat bread to bake loaves later. Then off to pick up the boys, get lunch on the table, finish with school for the girls, help Walter to the toilet, and get some tea made in time to host a young lady visiting our team for some debrief time. Juggling this opportunity and the children, dinner prep and piano practice, toddlers and chaos.
It’s so…ordinary. It’s all math lessons and toilet training and legos and sandwiches and guests and emails and grocery lists. As a wise mentor once said to me (and I know I’ve written of it before!), “Life is so daily, isn’t it?”
In Warren’s first chapter she quotes Annie Dillard: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” And how we spend our moments is how we spend our days. So each moment of this Monday is a short sentence in the long story of the life I will live. Being faithful in the small, seemingly insignificant, and mundane is how to be faithful in the life-long.
Perhaps I’m getting a glimmer of what it means to “do everything as unto the Lord”. It is finding–and believing–it worthwhile to serve God in the mundane, thankless, routine and invisible tasks that line up before me. It’s finding it worthwhile to battle for patience, righteousness, and death-to-self in the tiny incidentals. It’s embracing the job I have, the place I am, and the opportunities I do have.
It brings me back to a long-loved quote by Elisabeth Elliot. A quote that kicks me in the backside every time. “This job has been given me to do. Therefore it is a gift. Therefore it is a privilege. Therefore it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.”
This makes Monday a holy day full of golden opportunities and meaningful work.