Family Time

    “I have come to believe that the true mystics of the quotidian are not those who comtemplate holiness in isolation, reaching godlike illumination in serene silence, but those who manage to find God in a life filled with noise, the demands of other people and relentless daily duties that can consume the self.” Kathleen Norris, The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy, and ‘Women’s Work'”

I am a single mother of a son and a daughter who are both adults now. During their junior high and senior high years, we rushed from activity to activity. My son was a swimmer and my daughter played soccer and basketball. In addition to sports, both were involved in numerous other activities at school and church. There were practices, meets, games, and of course, homework.

We were always on the run – dinner was often in the car on the way to some activity. Time was the enemy.

I noticed a phenomenon that developed during their junior high years. About the time I was turning in for the night, one or both would come into my bedroom, sit down and begin to talk. These conversations were definitely not run of the mill. They generally were serious and reflective in nature. This was the point that they brought up their concerns, fears and questions about life in general. This was the time for the heavy duty stuff of life.

It seemed that there must be some master conspiracy against my sleep. But as I have reflected further on the phenomenon, I have become convinced that the sharing occurred at bedtime, because that was the point in the day that that the three of us had each slowed down enough for these issues to bubble up. The television was off; the phone had quit ringing. The house had quieted down. Some of the most memorable discussions between my kids and I occurred during these bedtime discussions. We talked about life, God and the future. My son and daughter allowed me to glimpse the adults they were becoming. These were the times when we cried together. By this time of day, I was generally pretty tired and not full of much wisdom, so mostly I just listened, really listened. I believe this was what both my son and daughter really needed – they weren’t looking for the answers just someone to hear them and to be really present with them. They were trying to sort out the solutions for themselves. I am so incredibly grateful that they sought me out for these talks, but I can’t help but wonder what our lives would have been like had our schedules been less hectic. These evening moments of sharing were moments in which the three of us experienced time as a sacrament.

    Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. (Deut 6:6-7, NRSV)

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