Thursday, 30 March 2017
Some days I can see the redeeming effects of habits repeated, day after day. I can see the value of the small things, done faithfully; even the small and the mundane.
But some days I can't. I feel suffocated by the small and apparently insignificant. I feel discouraged by the act of doing the same thing over and over, never certain whether it makes any difference.
Marriage is like this.
Of course, I tell myself, the small things matter. The goodbyes, the hellos, the thank yous, the appreciation, the kindness, the small gestures of love and commitment. But there are days - weeks even - when these things seem to make no difference at all. Where is the fruit in terms of connection, trust and closeness?
Raising kids is like this.
Daily getting them out of bed with kisses, spending time instead of doing other things, speaking words of love and encouragement. And yet, still a teen who hates going to school, not obviously more capable of dealing with negative emotions or anxiety. Where is the fruit of maturity, of strengthening, of resilience?
At times I want to give up the small gestures of love and faithfulness. I want to go for the grand gesture of a memorable exit. I want my dramatic gesture to be noticed, to stop the ordinary and the mundane in its tracks. I want to breathe, and shout, and yell instead of holding my breath in this place of squeezing faithfulness out of my unwilling self.
They say hope deferred makes the heart sick. There is a certain sickness in living in the midst of daily choices that for a time may offer no obvious fruit. But perhaps this place of squeezing is the true field of the battle; maybe this is the canvas on which the true picture is to be painted.
Each brushstroke a determined choosing, a surrendered pressing in, a single stroke by an artist who will only later see the beauty of the overall work of art. Perhaps much of redemption is about finding meaning in the small and the ordinary, offering up a silent prayer that this too will count.
We’re halfway there, so they say.
By now we should have seen some progress;
Though a couple of false starts might be allowed.
Then rungs must be climbed,
Titles assumed, status established.
A cellar stocked, new wheels bought.
Wrinkles filled, where necessary.
And so little to show for it.
Leaves curl and flutter in the gathering wind.
Halfway to a lifetime of loving.
I can tell you of the softness of a baby’s cheek
Now tan and lit by eyes that sparkle humour.
Of loving the same, solid body
That reaches for mine, night after night.
Of sharing half a lifetime of sunsets and caresses.
Of journeys to unknown places that become
Memories of songs sung, friends made,
Islands dancing beyond the trees.
Only halfway there.
And yet, could the place
They sent you in search ofBe any more solid than here?