the mothering arts

Simple sanity?

I've been thinking about what pursuing a simple, one-piece life means to me.

Ironically, my 'thinking time' has fallen over a week and a half of pure craziness family-wise. It's one of those things that happens- one child gets sick, one chore falls off the radar, an extra doctor's appointment, and the next thing you know…things are just a bit scattered. One of my kids was so ill that even church and fellowship was missed, and it sort of leaves your head spinning and discombobulated.

It's reinforced to me why I do what I do, and what a simple life means to me.

Sanity. Rhythm. Peace. A chance to breathe, to hear, to listen, to be.

As I've detailed in earlier posts, it started with meals and food…the need for preparation time, for a consistent point in time to aim for each day brought a subtle rhythm to my days that had not existed before. It happened slowly, almost unaware….quite simply, I had to plan and prepare, and I had to make time to plan and prepare, and I didn't have a car most days so I could only go grocery shopping on a particular day, and very soon, I was in a regular sort of routine with it.

Ben and Isaiah were both quite young and I was nursing Isaiah- and both still had a need for a morning and afternoon nap. The meal planning and preparation made me aware of routine for the first time in my homekeeping and mothering career, and so I began to pay attention to when the boys usually napped, and when Isaiah nursed, and slowly another component of our family rhythm fell into place. I stopped trying to run errands during naps and wouldn't you believe? The cranky factor in our house went way down.

I think the family rhythm is key. So often we are trying to march to a beat not our own, trying to fit into a symphony not written for us, trying to copy a song we've heard of another family, and grow intensely frustrated with the cacophony that results. And a key component in that is not listening to the Master who tells us what unique part each family member is designed to play, Who whispers His song for our lives in our ears….we're too busy banging and hollering and trying to follow a different line in the symphony than the one we're supposed to play. And hearing that call means we have to be still, so it all comes back around to the beginning again.

I noticed it this week, I felt it in my bones, and my heart ached for what I knew what was not there. But what I think is interesting is once you have begun to learn and practice your line in the symphony, you can hear and remember and even play it a little bit. You can find it easily, harmony and melody combining inside a roar of cellos and violins and flutes and clarinets…you know you're in there somewhere, you know how it all fits together, and usually, you can pick it up quickly again. So it was with our family rhythm- because we've taken the time to 'find our line' so to speak in the quiet, un-crazy times, we could find our way back to it quickly, and it brought calm.

It meant sanity- it meant knowing who went where and when, who needed what at what time, what was available to eat, what clothes were clean, what wasn't…it meant knowing that I needed to back off, to take some extra time stilling myself in prayer, to focusing and listening to what my little instruments were trying to squawk out and helping them tune up and hear what our orchestra Master had to say…

The family line we've been called to play in some ways is the farthest thing from 'simple', at least in the traditional sense of the word, but as long as we are simply following I trust it will be alright, and maybe even a beautiful melody if we get our practice sessons in.


  • rachel pearson

    “I noticed it this week, I felt it in my bones, and my heart ached for what I knew what was not there”.
    Once again, you expressed what I have felt better than I can myself! Our routine has become so second nature to me that I take it for granted, our own unique rhythm,until something happens to upset it! Then, too long, or too far off-track, and I really do “ache for what I know is not there”.

  • Pam

    I am a perfectionist coupled with being disorganized/spontaneous. I get so off balance and cranky when I forget that I have to be intentional about what organized people can do in their sleep. The Flylady, The House Fairy, and Managers of Their Homes, all help people like me not only find their rhythm, but keep it. I had a baby 5 months ago and am working on getting back on track with organization and scheduling.
    Great post!

  • Camille

    man this post spoke to me.. i connected with it in a major way!
    thanks so much, i needed this today (tonight)!

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