Friday, December 7, 2012

Expectant in Bethlehem: Friday of the First Week of Advent

Protect me, O God, for I take refuge in you;
   I have said to the LORD, "You are my Lord, my good above all other."
   Psalm 16:1

Of course it was one of those board games with a thousand small parts. I hear them clatter to the floor followed by the game board as I struggle to rescue a warmer coat from the tightly packed hall closet.

"The spiritual life is a stern choice,” writes Evelyn Underhill,  “It is not a consoling retreat from the difficulties of existence; but an invitation to enter fully into that difficult existence, and there apply the Charity of God to bear the cost." As I stoop to pick up the pieces, I reflect that the family life is also a stern choice. Having already resolved during my morning prayer to keep a spiritual focus for the day, to take the time needed to prepare for my upcoming meeting, to be prayerful and attentive to God during what promises to be a hectic day, the tumbling pieces of the children’s game abruptly shatter my tranquility. This isn’t even a game they play anymore, I mutter to myself with a sense of injustice.

Nevertheless, all of this is part of one cloth. In choosing to be faithful to the married life, in following a vocation of parenting, I also choose the cluttered closet. And the complicated schedule. And difficult negotiations. And raucous conversation around the dinner table. And shyly offered confidences about newly discovered friendships. And forgiveness offered and accepted. None of this is separate from the spiritual life.

(excerpt from Advent with Evelyn Underhill, edited by Christopher L. Webber. Morehouse 2006, p.7)

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012