These are my neighbors…

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Small girl, up way too early, shattering the quiet I expected before dawn. I remind myself that you are not the intrusion; you are the reason that I've carved this time to fill my tank with Jesus. 

Some people can jump out of bed in the morning, swallow a handful of vitamins with a cup of coffee, scrape the ice off their windshields, commute in crazy traffic, and take on the world. 

Not me. 

I'm weak-kneed at the prospect of spending the day with six children. I jump when the phone rings and I recognize the ringtone as one belonging to a "child" living away. I am overwhelmed by mundane things like laundry mountains and soccer schedules and how to roast a chicken.

I spend my early morning drinking deep of Him because I'm going to need it.

This work at home–this holy,  holy work? It's not something we do to pass the time while we wait for Him to call us to something more, something greater. This is the more. These children in our midst, the ones that sleep horizontally in the middle of our beds, the ones that sit in the minivan as we drive to dance class, the ones who really need to tell us all about it at 10 PM, they are the holy calling.

They are the "neighbors," living right here among us. 

We are called to go and make believers of all nations. We are called to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. We are called to holiness. Holiness. Even in our own homes. Even when no one is watching, but our children. Especially when no one is watching but our children. 

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C. S. Lewis offers this. I have taken the liberty to substitute "child" where he wrote "neighbour." I suppose we could substitute "husband" as well. 

It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his [child]. The load, or weight, or burden of my [child's] glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the back of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of the overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations–these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit–immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have from the outset, taken each other seriously–no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner–no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your child is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian [child], he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ ver latitat–the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden. ~from The Weight of Glory

This is not a stop on the way to doing great things for God. This is the place where great things get done every day.

 

Comments

  1. Lynn says

    Hello Elizabeth
    A beautiful post, thank you for sharing.
    I have decided to buy a new study Bible & have been looking at the Ignatious NT study Bible, but now am torn as the the C.S. Lewis Bible.
    Do you have a preference ? How do you find the notes?
    Thanks!

  2. says

    Yesterday I was mean (read: overwhelmed, overtired, just off a 24hr stay at the peds hospital) mom and went to bed filled with regret. Today, it’s a little school, and some popcorn snowballs. Thank you for your ministry Elizabeth!

  3. says

    I would say I love this but it seems I say that to so many of your blog posts. :)
    Sometimes I look at my grown children and my young grandchildren and I stand in awe of God’s work in our life. Somehow I know that I could have conquered the world but He would still ask me at the end of my life if I (and my husband) passed the baton of faith to the next generation.
    It was all done a day at a time, very imperfectly, precept-upon-precept, falling down and standing up to try another day. I need to go back and re-read the Lewis quote.

  4. Bethany says

    Really great. Thanks! I just read something similar this morning from Mother Teresa: “Peace and war start within one’s own home. If we really want peace for the world, let us start by loving one another within our families. . . . In order for love to be genuine, it has to be above all a love for our neighbor. We must love those who are nearest to us, in our own family. From there, love spreads toward whoever may need us.”

  5. says

    Such sweet encouragement Elizabeth. Our nest is empty and I am often assaulted with guilt for not doing “more” with the hours no longer occupied by children. I am not out conquering the world for Him. I am here, with a husband and elderly parents living about twenty minutes away. The hours slip through my fingers and I wonder if I spend them well. I thought in this season of life I would be volunteering and serving and going. It seems my ministry is mostly still right here.
    Thank you so much for this.

  6. says

    Those last two sentences…give me goosebumps!
    And this…
    ASmall girl, up way too early, shattering the quiet I expected before dawn. I remind myself that you are not the intrusion; you are the reason that I’ve carved this time to fill my tank with Jesus.
    I was just sharing on my blog today about Mark 3: 7-12…how we are to allow ourselves to be touched by those that need us…and desire it.
    Thanks for your words of beauty!

  7. Charlane says

    Linda , I too am finished raising my girls… Took care of my parents … Now have a daughter and two grands 6&3 living with us!!! I have seen time come full circle!! I remember the early wakers , those faces ready for the day !!! So happy to be alive … And my parents faces so happy to still be able to see my face when I’d walk in the door… Miss them so much … Now all the love is spent on the grands…. 11 of them…. I still spend that time with The Lord … So different now … Not so immediate!!!! But one thing I have learned… The love starts in the home …. These souls cannot find it anywhere else … Not the authentic , agape love only a family can give…..

  8. Denise M says

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. They were beautiful. I refill my tank at night after everyone goes to sleep. It helps me settle in for the night. I am not a morning person.
    I would also like to know what book that is in the first photo.

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