Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Afternoon Sweep

"Teach us to count our days, that we may be wise at heart."
Psalm 90:12

After school is done and those children of mine are scattered to the four winds, embracing the last few hours of sunlight, my day slows.  This is my time, my meditation hour, those golden moments after the rush of the work day and before the jumble of dinner, bath and bedtime that leads us to days end.  Macrina Wiederkehr , in her book "Seven Sacred Pauses," calls these moments "The Wisdom Hour," a time to reflect on steadfastness, forgiveness, death and transition.  It is my favorite time.  I hold these themes in my heart as I pack away the day.

I start by picking up, putting away the books and toys that seem to stray and accumulate all over the house.  I pick up abandoned coloring projects, crayons set right down where someone set them before dashing outside with a sister on the promise of some adventure or other.  I check school assignments and look over tomorrow's lesson before putting them away on their shelves to wait for another morning.

As I stack and sort and put to rest the work of a family day, I reflect on it all.  The things I did right, and the things I didn't.  The things to remember and work on.  Which kid needs extra prayer and which needs extra praise.  Packing away the day becomes a meditation on what came before.  By inviting God into these simple, every day moments of my life, I'm reminded of the goodness of this life, this work - and I see signs of Him everywhere I look.

Finally, I sweep.  I turn my broom on the corners of each room and am always amazed at the dirt a day with these little people can produce.  I sweep it all in a big pile and contemplate my mistakes, the dirt of my day right there in my heart.  I toss it in the garbage and wonder at it - when this life is over, how much dirt will I have contributed to a landfill somewhere?  How much soul-dirt will I leave behind, my final legacy?  I embrace grace and turn from it all.

I can hear the baby stirring from his nap and the bigs shouting Daddy's arrival outside.  It is time to move toward evening, to put this day to rest.  I light a candle and whisper it, give up my failings and turn to greet my husband and the evening he brings with him.  Another day over.  Another day lived.

"Light Tomorrow With Today."
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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  1. Soul-soaked. I love this. Such a better alternative to my dread of the witching-hour as of late. Thank you for a turn of heart.

  2. I always enjoy your posts and your thought process and your little family.

  3. Beautiful!
    I dont keep up with my blogs...and I cant find a post where you talk about another baby, but is baby #6 on the way?!

  4. And I love the sweeping with a broom you wrote about....NO ONE USES A BROOM ANYMORE!!!

  5. Yes, new baby on the way! The news was surreptitiously slipped in a post a months or so back. And really? I had no idea brooms were no longer in for housekeeping! Backward and old fashioned, that's me!


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