Emily Freeman taught me to listen to my Tuesdays. Mine showed up a day late. It was an everyday Wednesday. I stood, feet askew, stirring the carnitas in my red dutch oven for our friends coming over for lunch that day, like they do every week. There was a pause as my husband passed by, noticing for once I wasn’t running on caffeine fumes and frantic anxiety.
It all came pouring out: that I finally felt okay with being right here, right now. Present in the moment. Finally okay with the methodical rhythm of stirring pots and shredding meat and chopping salad veggies—not for the grand dinner party where I’d be noticed and thanked, but for this little everyday. I finally felt okay with sticky fingers around my legs, and with stirring one-handed before the toddler and baby toddled off to play their version of chase.
There has always been much movement. I used to walk four miles a day just to get from my flat, around an ancient Scottish castle on a crag, to my fourth-floor attic office, where I sat reading emigrant letters and writing my Ph.D. dissertation. Years later, I spent two hours in the car a day, sailing down freeways and stopping at Starbucks so I could teach college English in my sleep-deprived new-mom state. Later, we tried to do the pop workout DVD Insanity after our children were asleep—stealing hours to sweat and do burpees. It’s always been rushing movement to the next thing.
But today I’m learning to slow down. I’m learning that life wasn’t more full in the past when I was teaching or studying. And life won’t be more fulfilling in the future when we move from Salt Lake City to Southern California in six weeks. I simply have the gift of now. Now, with the noise and demands and duties still there. But now with the delicate open spaces between the chaos, full of chubby fingered knee-hugs and the privilege to fill the bellies and souls of those who gather around my table.
This plain ordinary isn’t just okay, it is infused with holy if we will pause, bend low and hear it.
Sometimes resurrection doesn’t come with blinking neon lights but out of ordinary elements. The creaking of stone, the wrapping of linen, the early slants of light, the earthy smell of tomato vines in the garden.
And sometimes you don’t know about resurrection until you’ve already passed over, until you’re already on the other side. You begin to realize that the life you’d lived was one foggy with demands and new laws you’d created, so that you manufactured a shallow safety; so you and your people could dance carefully around new laws, each a potential land mine that exploded in shame, remorse, and fear.
But this, this moment is abundant life. It is the stirring of food to create vulnerable community. It is realizing that I am not too busy or too important to love my little people well. It is putting down my tools: the spoon, the phone, and my notebook of ideas, to engage in this holy moment.
Because when Jesus rose from the dead, he spoke her name to her and all the duties of spices and grief were shed like his linen graveclothes. So as I stir, as I string words together, as I kiss boo-boos and visit with my neighbors I am doing good and holy work. Resurrected work. For resurrection proves the glorious truth that we are seen—really seen—and that we are fully loved right here, right now. Resurrection promises our raggedness will be knit into new garments. Our names are known and we are called to run back to town to share the news of belonging, of all things being made incomprehensibly new.
And I can do that on an ordinary Wednesday with my big red pot of carnitas. And you can too.
Over to you: Where do you experience resurrection in your mundane?
Writer and Editor at aahales.com
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