24 Jul Bookends
In the midst of chaos and long days, where my concept of a work-life balance continuously blurs the lines, my son has been struggling to understand when” mommy can play” and when “mommy can’t play.” Pre-pandemic, it was easier to separate my family time and work time. Now, not so much!
Long gone are the days, where I have the luxury of focusing for 8 hours at a desk.
Because I know this kind of treatment is unfair to him, I have started to be more intentional about how I spend time with him. One of the things I have implemented is a new bedtime routine, and it has become one of my favorite parts of the day.
Our new bedtime routine now includes a few minutes of cuddles, where I lay down and ask him two specific questions:
What was your favorite thing that happened today?
What was your least favorite thing about today?
Women of Judah, I am not sharing this with you because I want to tell you about my life. But I am sharing this because I want to share how much I have come to appreciate his answers. In a season where my focus is often lacking, and things get a little crazy, he reminds me that life is still good. His answers, which I call ‘little unnoticed moments of gratitude,’ range from, “Mom, my favorite thing today was when you let me watch tv during lunchtime,” to “I liked when Dad stopped and played a game with me.”
My son’s responses are small but mighty. They have reminded me to practice gratitude in this season of uncertainty.
In Philippians 4:8-9 (MSG), our Bible says that “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”
The example that we could take from my 4-year old is that we should take some time at the end of the day, to extract small nuggets of goodness.
Maybe, you are thankful for the 15 minutes that you got to talk to a good friend today?
Perhaps, you are thankful for getting an “atta-girl” from your boss on a project that you have been working very hard on?
Or maybe you are just extra thankful that today you had a quiet moment you had with a piece of chocolate (that you didn’t have to share)?
Women of Judah, it is essential that we do what the ‘experts’ call ‘bookend your day.’ Bookends are tools that we use on our bookshelves, to keep the books from toppling over. There is one at the front of the bookshelf, and there is often one at the back.
So, when we wake up in the morning and give thanks and then end our evening in gratitude, it makes what is in the middle, stand-up a little straighter.
So much heartache has come with this pandemic. From furloughs to deaths, we have lots to complain about. But as Maya Angelou so eloquently put it, “Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”
Like my son, I hope you are still finding those little unnoticed moments of gratitude.
I hope that you are still fighting for the sunshine.
I hope that today, you think about the things that are “true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious.”