The other morning I wake up and open the Mary Oliver book of poems I’ve just borrowed from the library. The first one is titled “I Go Down to the Shore” and it has quickly become a favourite. I read it in the quiet of my bedroom while the boys are still asleep in their rooms…I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.
And I almost laugh out loud because its as if Mary Oliver has written this for me, knowing that I am tired and frustrated in this province-wide lockdown with no gatherings allowed and schools closed and the boys now within a few feet from me all. of. the. time. I’ve stood at the shore of my life many times in the past few weeks thinking, Oh, I am miserable, what shall—what should I do?
The poem reminds me that grumbling gets me nowhere. That, like the sea, I have work to do. Work that is mine, and good, and holy. And showing up to that work with everything I’ve got, even if right now it looks like kicking a soccer ball around at the park or sitting down at the kitchen table with my five-year-old helping him write his All About Book on cheetahs, is precisely what I need to do.
I am beginning to see that having my boys home right now is a blessing, as I am thrust into their dailiness, their presence, their energy. Where else can I be but in the present moment with them? And when I have both my feet planted right where I am, when I am awake and alert to whatever situation I find myself in, to the people in front of me, then I create space for God to reveal Himself to me.
Author Kathleen Norris writes, “Because we are human, it is in the realm of the daily and the mundane that we must find our way to God.” And my life right now is nothing if it is not entirely small and daily, moment by moment by moment.
Each ordinary rhythm of my life is reminding me to look for Him, offering me a pathway to prayer. As I hang another load of whites on the line, cook another grilled cheese, fill another bathtub, take another trip to the playground — each of these seemingly mundane actions are actually invitations. Look up. Take a breath. Welcome grace.
You are loved.
Yes, God is here in all of my simple deeds and I am learning to find Him there.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people. – Colossians 3:23