For some uncommon reason, I have been awake by 4:30 am or so for the last three days. Without an alarm. This makes me wonder if anyone of you are praying for me to have a gentle transition into this whole getting up in the dark business. At any rate, it is so beautiful and peaceful to simply find oneself awake and have a completely silent house with nothing to do but listen to God. No alarm necessary.
So on Day 3 of Lent I am exploring two more questions to help me pay attention to God in everyday life. If you are just joining today, welcome. You are not behind and you don’t need to catch up. But if you want a teeny bit more info, scroll back through a few entries and find out why I am doing this along with a very very very brief bit about Lent in general.
1. Where did I find myself most loving today?
This question is such a great question to ask throughout the day and a great question to teach our children to ask. Today I noticed my love for strangers. I spent the larger part of my day in a lovely little urban coffee/tea shop called Milk and Honey. If you live anywhere within an hour of this place, find a reason to spend a morning there. It is tiny. The teas are complex and creative. The people stream in and out and sometimes edge their way into little tiny outdoor tables or sofas to enjoy a vanilla bergamot tea or a fresh fruit parfait or a Nutella and banana sandwich. In environments like this, I feel instantly connected to the many types of people that wander in for a bit of solace in a cup of hot tea. I imagine their stories, the types of days that face them, the way they bring their little toddlers in and then end up quickly shuffling them out after one of them spills their tea or yogurt into the gravel patio. I always smile knowingly at these incidents that are so common to my own experience. Or the couples that come in so carefree (young) and remind me of earlier dating days with my husband. Something about their posture and the absolute joy of getting to know each other and simply enjoy a cup of coffee is so refreshing to my soul. In this very small environment, you pick up on bits of conversation. Today I noticed how many people were talking directly and boldly about their faith and love and belief in God. I felt as if God had orchestrated so many of us to arrive in this tea house and the same exact moment to be a great witness and expression of loving Him and loving one another.
2. Where did I find myself least loving today?
This is hard to say but it was with my family at the library. In our media fast, we are exploring other activities that will help us to replace old behaviors with new and more enriching ones. Library was top of the list for everyone. It is worth mentioning here that my husband has never (in our memory) been to the library with all of 6 of us. It is also worth mentioning that my 2 1/2 year old is not so awesome at the idea of a “library voice”. And did I mention we went just before dinner? So we head to the library full of expectations ( mine ) and we immediately scatter into all directions. But my toddler and I remained in the section near some little playthings and piles and piles and piles of picture books where I periodically had to chase after him as he tried to find the elevator. I am and have always been a book nerd. I love everything about libraries. Everything that has to do with quiet reading. But something happened when we got to the library and I could feel myself losing the joy of the experience. My middle son picked up a pile of comic type books that were way too evilly graphic for my comfort. Irritated. My eldest daughter was allowed to head over to the young adult section and returned with a pile of books whose covers looked appropriate but as I flipped through the pages were full of rated R material. Disheartened. My middle daughter was wisely studying her science and vocabulary and every time I tried to sit and help her I was distracted and pulled away by my toddler on the loose. Frustrated. My husband finally returned happily with a whole pile of new cookbooks to show me and I was just done. Nothing went as I had hoped or imagined. And why? We’ve been to the library zillions of times. It made no sense. So in an extremely unloving way, I made sure that everyone knew, through my carefully placed passive aggressive behavior, how very very disappointed I was. Ug.