mend the part of the world

Thursday, May 18, 2017

I recently finished reading Katrina Kenison's The Gift of an Ordinary Day, A Mother's Memoir and found myself reflecting and dog-earing my whole way through.  Her attention to the minutia of being a mother and raising kids up, while also trying to figure out how you (as your own actual person with dreams and feelings of your own separate from motherhood) were eloquent and so very relatable to my own inner dialogue.  Most of the pages are turned down so I can remind myself in the future during my inevitable re-read of this book that there was a sentence or two that spoke to me directly.

In the last chapter titled Pansies though, I had a moment of real connection with the author and the poet she quotes in this section.  This connection is part of the reason I am such a lover of reading - those rare moments as a reader when you feel that maybe the author writes a line specific just for you.  Sentences alone sometimes can bring the two of you together; reader and writer; to look across collapsed space and time and experience and see a familiar soul.  This is why readers read and writers write; to reach across all of everything to hold hands for a moment.

The chapter is in large part about a neighborhood woman that the author notices and then slowly comes to learn about, learn from, and be inspired by.  The neighbor woman is incredibly limited by health complications and yet she deeply loves and cares for all the parts of the world she can reach - which amount to their one mile stretch of back country road.  It's a beautiful story (the whole book is so well done, it comes with high recommendation from me!) and Kenison relates this woman to a quote from poet and writer, Clarissa Pinkola Estes -

As soon as I read that line, I could feel my heart swell.  I had uncovered an intention to hold in my soul.  It's so easy to become drowned out in the daily grind of raising kids and household chores and that 'squeeze-in-some-romance when ya can' living.  On top of all of those balls to keep juggling, I always have real passion in my heart to do something - make a difference in a real way to the earth.  To be kind, to volunteer, to inspire other people towards being grateful and kind and intentional.  But gosh, take one look around this messy house, and this overstuffed negative newsfeed and the wind gets sucked right out of my sails.  Often times I feel so small, so inconsequential - I'm sure we all do - and it's frustrating and sad and makes you want to throw your hands up and say, who cares?! and then binge watch a series on Netflix.

But what if the intention in my heart each day was to mend the part of the world that was within my reach.  just the part of the world I can reach.  these people; my people.  this house, this neighborhood and community.  this teeny corner of the web.  this is the circle of the world within my grasp, and what if I set my heart to mend just that; to lighten the burdens of the world.

For me, then, on any given day, it might mean
to kiss that booboo knee.
to read one more book, please mum before bedtime.
to call instead of text.
to put down my phone.
to pack his lunch for work.
to weed our flower bed.
to let the dogs snuggle up to me.
to keep writing.
to make time for thoughtful and honest conversations.
to dole out my smile freely and abundantly.
to laugh off the small stuff.
to be silly.
to hug.
to be patient.
to listen.

And to also be gracious and observant to all of the people and creatures in my life who lighten the burdens of the world for me.

those who whisper I love you momma.
he who never forgets a kiss hello or goodbye.
those who bring me handfuls of dandelions and buttercups in the midst of imaginative play.
those who send a text to say, 'miss you! love you!' and with no expectation for a text in return (#theyknowme)
those who remember when we're worried or stressed
those who remember our favorite candy and snacks and seem to have them on hand every time
those who send me something they've read or watched because they knew I'd appreciate it
those who snail mail
those who pick up our kids for practices, games, or playdates.
strangers who smile and hold doors and offer to help.
those who look me in the face and say, 'you're doing good momma, hang in there.'
those who show up even when (likely when) it's last minute.
those who laugh and shrug off the small stuff.
those who give grace.

Over the past week or so since reading these words, I have found myself repeating them when I start feeling overwhelmed or caught up in the commotion of life.  "Mend the part of the world within your reach." and immediately my eyes become more clear in intention.  The part of the world within my reach is my most favorite part of the world; to lighten it's burden is my greatest honor.


1 comment:

  1. I always think the people I need to help are strangers. I don't really know why that is. Reading her book, as well as some of the bible reading I've been doing lately has reminded me that little kindnesses or generosities here at HOME count, too! Duh! Love the reminder though, that what I'm doing here is meaningful and can incite change. If I love on my kids a little extra, they'll love on their friends a little extra. If I blog my heart and connect with someone, that puts goodness into the world. Not everything has to be BIG or LOUD or LIFE-CHANGING. Goodness can be small.