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Julie's favorite books »

Thursday
Oct132016

Little by Little

I miss Saturday mornings. 

Saturday mornings used to be my favorite time of the week.  An entire weekend stretched out before us, full of everything or nothing or just the right amount of something.  Saturday mornings were for sleeping in, eating breakfast, planning the weekend, and later ditching the plans (particularly if said plans involved running errands).  Even if chores were required, it was never quite as dreary: we could scrub the tub and listen to music and vacuum and then feel quite chuffed about our big accomplishments for the entire day.  Above all, Saturdays were dedicated to shedding the burden of the week.  And they were gorgeous.   

But now, sadly, my Saturdays have been taken hostage.  My children have mounted a multi-faceted attack on The Gorgeous Saturday: they insist on getting up at the same time (about 6:30am), they still require food, and they refuse to abide by my no-arguing-on-the-weekend policy.  They are often inexplicably cranky (which is especially bothersome because I am never cranky without reason).  It’s true I can silence them for a while by plugging them into a device, but if you leave them too long they get overheated and they short out like a toaster tossed into a bathtub.  Screen time is a vindictive mistress.      

So I was bemoaning the ruins of my Saturday last weekend and going through my old Facebook photos.  I needed to see if my hair looked better in those photos because it was almost time for a cut and the pre-req for all my haircuts is to dabble in some light obsessing.  I’m convinced that finding the perfect haircut is all that stands between me and bliss.  And I found this photo. 

Oh, hello, miniature version of nine-year-old Nolan.  

It’s strange, because there’s both distance and closeness when I look at my kids’ baby photos.  It’s near, true, but it’s too far to casually walk back into the memory; I have to dig through the rubble to get there.  Because there are millions of little moments that lie between that picture and this day: countless little decisions and adjustments have brought us to this current moment.  Little by little, time has passed.    

Little by little: it came up in yoga class, in my devotional, in my conversations with my people.  It’s been the theme of late.  So many good, rich, true things in our life happen little by little: intimacy, wisdom, growth, strength, flexibility, a well-crafted sentence.  Also plants.  This is my jalapeño plant.

I showed it to my mom and when I told her I planted it as a seed she called me a liar, which is fair, given my checkered history with plants.  To be honest, even I’m shocked when I look at it, but it grew like all plants do: inch by inch, day by day. 

Life happens little by little. 

And it’s good news and bad news.  The good news is that it’s possible to stay present, to appreciate the small things, knowing they are, in fact, the big things.  If I’m present, then I look at that picture of Nolan and smile.  I feel a pang of nostalgia, or wonder, or gratitude for all the ways God has shepherded us from there to here.  But the beauty is in what’s missing, what I don’t feel: regret.  I was there; I was imperfect and foolish and flawed and prone to do the wrong thing, but I was present in that season, a witness to that time in my own limited capacity.  It’s a gift to me, even now.

Because this is the bad news: time is passing, little by little.  And there are moments and opportunities that will pass us by if we’re not careful.  If we don’t develop discipline and wisdom and grit then we’ll miss our boats.  We won’t laugh enough with our children, or learn to knit, or make the difficult choice, or work on the handstand, or redeem that crap situation by learning the lessons it offered.  We won’t know the rewards of doing the work, little by little. 

Redemption, forgiveness, healing: they’re all possible.  I can do it better than I did it before, because newness and peace are there, waiting for me, in every little moment.  But I have to keep saying yes, keep coming back, keep staying in ("Engage, Maverick!").  Even then, it’s not a packaged fairy tale with an assured, tidy ending of bliss and the perfect haircut.  I never arrive, but I keep making my way: through the questions, through the grief, through the joy, through the Life.  

But let's get real: I won’t stop missing those Gorgeous Saturdays, because I am a reasonable woman who knows a good thing when she sees one.

Happy weekend, friends.

Reader Comments (1)

Do you still put your boys down at 7pm (jealous if you do)?
But that might explain the 6:30am wake ups!

October 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMaureen Wilson

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