Monday, October 29, 2012

sweet wood

"Neither do walls nor rich furniture make a home. Millionaires in magnificent mansions may never know a home. But where there are good relationships, where love binds the family together and to God, there happiness is always to be found. For good relationships are heaven anywhere. Monotony and misery cannot exist where there is love. But the fire of love must be kept burning warmly and brightly with the sweet wood of sacrifice. In teaching us to cross the "I" out of life, our Lord tells us the secret of happiness; what the saints call the ecstasy of self-forgetfulness. For divine love is always self-effacing, seeks to give rather than receive, to serve rather than to be served, to love rather than be loved, and will sacrifice anything for the beloved. Only then does love become a clean and holy fire in the heart."
St. Seraphim of Sarov

Finding so much solace and security in this truth spoken by St. Seraphim of Sarov this evening as I sit here listening to the howling wind swirl, twirl and rock our world outside.

Waking up this morning to a heavy burden and discontentment with my home and the small corners that are disorganized and not-so-beautiful. Feeling like a failure because I store my bills on my kitchen counter near my dry good tins instead of on some lovely desk somewhere in a room that currently doesn't exist in my home. Letting the fact that we haven't properly sanded and painted over a few patches in my kitchen steal my joy from me as this morning as I peer begrudgingly around my house looking for neglected, untidy corners to pick fights with.

In  moments like this, I choose discontent over joy and allow the troubles and cares of this world to keep me from tending to the true "fire of love that must be kept burning". And it is only through the "sweet wood of sacrifice" that this love can be allowed to continue burning "warmly and brightly" as  St. Seraphim reminds us.

So, I ponder the sacrifices in my life, the moments when I have deliberately chosen to put the love of people over the love of ideals. One cannot have it all in this life, try as one might. I have written before about my belief that this myth- the idea that one can 'have it all' in this lifetime- is the biggest lie of our lifetime. Surely, it must be the cause of so many instances of deep, heartfelt defeat and weariness in our culture, endured mostly by mothers.

I could remind  myself of the many, true, but oh-so cliche sayings I have heard over the last decade of motherhood in regards to what life with young children is like and how fleeting it is. No arguments here. And although I have seriously considered posting a sign out on our front yard reading, "Please pardon our appearance, we are growing children here, not grass", I am choosing today not to focus on how someday, when my children are grown, my yard, home and time will be what the world tells me it should be

Instead I am choosing to strive daily to indeed "cross the 'I' out of life" entirely- not just today in this season of neglected projects and poor lawn maintenance- but also in the seasons to come when time and stillness will be my constant companions.

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