Begin with the Prayer of Abandonment.
Several days of this challenge have focused on intimacy at the end of the day. And yet, how we start the day is just as important … though often even more challenging.
How do you welcome the day, as a couple? How does the way you start each day build up or erode your family bond?
This can be very challenging for those with young (or otherwise needy) children. When our kids were growing up, I had an unfortunate tendency to tolerate rather than welcome the day — three of us are not sound sleepers, which meant I felt as though I were stumbling through life in a perpetual state of exhaustion. At the first shriek, I would pull the pillow over my head and make my own unique morning offering:
Please, just make it stop. I had about 5.2 seconds of REM sleep last night . . .
Most mornings I stumbled out of bed, let out the dog, and made my way to the kitchen to supervise breakfast, give the kids their medicine, and stumble back to the bedroom to uproot my husband from the sheets before getting ready for the day myself. It was my least favorite moment of the day — the kids bickered, the house was a mess, and I avoided mirrors in case I looked half as bad as I felt. It wasn’t pretty.
On the way to school, the mood in the car was tense. Kids snarled as I implored them to please not to add to my headache. Hats, gloves, and homework completely disappeared. Medicine was left on the breakfast table, necessitating another run to school to deliver whatever was left behind. It really set an edgy tone for the day.
But then I noticed something: On the rare days that I managed to get four or more hours of sleep, the short drive to school is a pleasant one. Everyone seems happy, cooperative, and ready to greet the day. In the car, I would share stories about when they were little, or put on some Keith Green or Second Chapter of Acts (“Hymns”). We would chat about cloud formations or the family of geese that has taken residence in the pond near the school. (On bad days those geese had better step lively as they crossed the road, or someone was going to lose a tail feather.)
Have you ever noticed how your family’s mood is determined in no small part by your own? Wives and mothers are the heart of the family home. We are the harbingers of beauty and grace — even with bed head and morning breath, we are the ones who either elevate the hearts of our family, or summon a dark cloud overhead.
At the end of the day, we get to do it all over again. The kitchen is Ground Zero of family life, where all the senses can feast on the aroma of dinner, the sound of music, the pretty arrangement of candles or flowers with the dishes, a nibble of something sweet or savory — this daily dose of beauty form memories that will stay with them for life. How do I know? If I close my eyes, I can still remember the feeling of coming home, the aroma of soup and bread and my father’s pipe tobacco smoke.
Is your home a place those you love feel welcome at every hour of the day? Do you greet the day with a groan, or a quick S.O.S. to welcome the Holy Spirit and invite him to renew your joy?