There are nights when I close my eyes burdened by frustration over how I could have lived better; then there are nights when I fall asleep with a settled heart knowing I was present. What does a peaceful day look like?
It doesn’t mean that there are zero sibling squabbles. It doesn’t mean that I accomplish everything on my to-do list. It doesn’t even mean that I walk around with a smile on my face the whole day or never raise my voice in impatience or exasperation. Instead it means that I have approached all that I must do with an “I want to do it” attitude: the laundry, the meal-making, the routine child care (which consumes most of my day), even the dusting! My default is to feel frustrated when I’m not able to accomplish the things on my me-list such as being alone for a few minutes, reading more than a few paragraphs at a time, tackling the list of topics I want to write about or putting items in the chest freezer we bought over a week ago. But if when I view everything I did accomplish in my day as things I genuinely wanted to do anyway, I enter into those things with relish and joy.
In fact, just last night I was sitting on the girls’ bedroom floor for our evening song and prayer before bed. The kids were being goofy and not settling down; normally I would have gotten frustrated since we were an hour past bedtime but for a split second it felt like time froze for me and I felt 100% PRESENT! As I took time to journal about my day I reflected on the evening walks we have taken two nights in a row. They were perfect! The kids set the pace and we simply wandered, observed, and chatted. Taking this slower pace has been especially beneficial for our oldest since it allows him to verbalize the thoughts zooming through his deep-thinking mind. On yesterday’s walk he independently expressed empathy for strangers, something I would not have expected from someone so young. This is the life I dreamed of having – every bit of it – and I’m going to embrace it with the biggest bear hug I can muster.
What about you? Are there things you do every day that feel mundane or feel like cumbersome chores standing the way of real fun? Are there moments you are missing because you are busy trying to get things done in order to move on to something you’d rather be doing instead? For today, can you slow down and be present in each task set before you out of gratitude that you are capable of doing it? Trust me, you won’t regret a day of gratitude, joy and peace.