I just read a really interesting blogpost the other day. I thought it was amazing food for thought and I'm actually still thinking about it. It's written by a formerly-atheist-but-now-Catholic mom to four. Good stuff.
Here are some random things rolling around in my head after reading:
--It makes me think about some different families I know. Really, truly, amazing families. Raising children from hard places, waking up every day and looking grief and trauma and medical needs square in the eye. Life is messy and loud and hard, I am sure, but there is life.
--It makes me think about my own children, and family life, and how we're growing our family by two, and how oh my goodness there are going to be NINE of us living in this here house (in the city). Things will be crazier and there will be more of just about everything...including life.
--Jesus said "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." Life to the full. I don't think Jesus meant to imply that we'd be leading super independent, sterile, controlled lives that are overflowing and filled with STUFF. Or money or approval or ______. I wonder if He really meant, well, exactly what He said. Lots of life. The very thing I find myself running from half the time. Because it's hard or overwhelming or I'm too introverted or whatever.
--You might assume that someone with five-soon-to-be-seven children is all about loud noisy crowds and chaos and lots of stuff going on at all times and adding kids to the family for the heck of it. FAR FROM IT. I like peace and quiet, I hate crowds, and I prefer sipping coffee with a small-ish group of friends to a huge party atmosphere. And every.single.time. we have added to our family (save for our first child, because she really was an easy baby and our lifestyle really DIDN'T change all that much), it has been a challenging transition. But I think what what I'm beginning to embrace is the fullness of life that Jesus was talking about. Or at least I'm wanting to. Sure He was using the term broadly, and children is but a subset of that, but I think it applies oh-so-well. Our home may be chaotic sometimes, but it is most always filled with life.
--A full life is a GOOD thing...so...maybe we should stop bemoaning the symptoms of a full life. I know there are plenty around my house. Overflowing piles of clean laundry to be folded and put away, a dishwasher that needs emptying and reloading on a much-more-regular-than-I-would-like basis, a bunch of junk dumped in our guestroom at the moment because it needs to be organized, needing to figure out how on earth we're going to configure bedrooms once our girls come home (do we ditch having a guestroom altogether and give our oldest her own room, and all the other kids being two-to-a-room? Or do we stick three girls in one room?)...yes, lots and lots of signs that life is happening here. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for getting rid of clutter and having a (relatively) clean space, mostly for my own sanity (not gonna lie--I don't do it primarily for my husband or for my kids. No I don't feel ashamed. And yes there's far more to a good marriage than how well we ladies mop our floors or do our hair. Another blog post for another day, friends.). BUT, my goodness, maybe it's pretty sweet that we're all living and eating and playing and learning here together. A museum doesn't sound very cozy or homey to me.
I look forward to processing through these ideas some more in the days to come. It's so counter-cultural, both inside and outside of the church. And while I do think "community" is the trendy/missional/emergent-ish/progressive thing to talk about these days, what we usually really mean is community without a cost. We may be okay with the idea of togetherness, but not when it comes at a sacrifice. And not when it spills over into our homes and involves a difficult child or a sinkful of dishes or a marriage that we have to keep working at day in and day out. But all that stuff? It's really just life, and I want to embrace it to the point where I enjoy it. Think of all we could do if we were not afraid of life!