Need I say more? One does not tend to great feats of achievement when afflicted by lethargy. One does not write overmuch or think overmuch, even. One keeps a mug of tea or coffee close to hand and prays short and heartfelt prayers for patience as one steps over the Suspend sticks and picks up the 9th strand of embroidery floss and searches again for the lost needle on the couch.
Since January is almost over already, I thought it might be appropriate to recap the month. It has been near record cold in Pennsylvania they say. It has been really grey and barren. Also cold. Hibernating weather. Finally this past week we have been blanketed by a snowfall that has lifted all of us. I have thought that in another life I would like to be like a squirrel, curled up with my tail over my face on frigid days, only scampering out for nuts when the sun shines brightly. Come to think of it, this year I did have a rather long period of enforced low activity due to the knee injury. But the people still needed their nuts on a regular schedule, so it wasn’t really all it’s cracked up to be.
January feels sad this year, with the losses of friends on my mind. It also gives me a feeling of slow-motion busyness, in that way that creeps up when I don’t ever seem to accomplish much even though I keep doing stuff and doing stuff all day. Long ago I figured out that projects and accomplishments are not as big a deal as people are. It continues to be a learning process, but in the midwinter, I don’t really care about accomplishments.
So why is it that the things that don’t matter very much are so glaringly obvious, like mud on the floor or pancake syrup on the window? We can’t really see smudges on our souls or wrinkles in our spirits, yet an hour in our own company would likely reveal them. Yesterday I actually heard myself muttering, “I used to have all these buttons and snaps organized, but now I guess I have a thorn in the flesh that doesn’t put stuff away.” It’s embarrassing to admit, but there it was, a huge old stain that needed some cleansing.
Olivia came to me with her memory verse marked in her Bible last night and whispered in my ear, “I thought maybe this would encourage you, Mama.” It was the place in Matthew where Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me.” Yes, dear little girl, I do like those verses.
Because that is pretty much what I did in the past month. I invested in my children and cried tears of private frustration and I felt like the Grinch of Homework. I prayed and corrected and encouraged them in the right way, then I stepped aside and let them decide which way they were going to take. Sometimes they messed up and often I messed up. Then we apologized and I doled out rewards and penalties in pretty much equal amounts.
This morning Alex recited his memory verses to me.
Luke 16:10-13 starts out with, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.”
It hasn’t been a brilliant month, but I hope that I have been found faithful. The little things, the little people, the little attitudes: I want to remember that they are where it is really at. So will it be walnuts or hazelnuts tonight, my little squirrels?