So on Friday, the Feast of the Epiphany, the Three Magi safely made it to the fireplace mantle to deliver their gifts to the Baby Jesus, Miss Elizabeth found the quarter in her piece of the Galette des Rois, and just for good measure an ice storm topped off with a dusting of snow passed through. But with all of that, Christmas break has ended.
Our Christmas break has been a delightful couple of weeks of gifting, and feasting, and reading, and friends, and crafting, and movies, and staying up late, and sleeping in, and playing in pajamas well into the morning and occasionally past lunchtime.
But tomorrow, things need to go back to 'normal'. We will begin school again, picking back up the last few weeks of the term before exams and starting fresh with a new pile of books. On Tuesday, the children resume their swimming lessons and choir practices, and on Wednesday we will meet with friends again for co-op. We're not easing back in, we're diving back in.
On the one hand, we're ready for it. After two+ solid weeks off, preceded by the flu and a slow limp to the finish line, it feels like it's been a long time since we've had a day in which we followed a normal routine. The crankiness that is creeping in around the edges is telling me it's time to reclaim it. On the other hand, I feel overwhelmed by the thought of trying to get that ball rolling again. Inertia. An object at rest wants to stay at rest…. Oh how I want to stay at rest. Sloth is a vice I wrestle with every.single.day. I need a little something to kick-start me back into action, to help me to gladly go forth and resume the work He has given me to do.
Maybe I'm not the only one? I suspect perhaps that I am not. I can't offer you a package bundle of resources and checklists that guarantee to help you start the New Year with a bang. I can't even offer you a blogpost in which I attempt to weave these wise words I have gleaned from others into a coherent whole. That said, these are a few of the words that have been feeding my soul and strengthening my heart and helping me combat my propensity toward sloth this week as I prepare to shift gears and begin "normal" life again after the slower rhythm of these past weeks.
"…the real problem of Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes that very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day." (Pt. 4, Ch. 8)
"Every time you fall He will pick you up again. And he knows perfectly well that your own efforts are never going to bring you anywhere near perfection." (Pt. 4, Ch, 9)
~CS Lewis, Mere Christianity
"MIDWINTER. The commonest simile in connection with the new year is a book with blank pages. Nature's year is also a book to be written. This midwintertime represents a pause in the turning wheel of life. It is, in northern lands, the year's low point, its nadir. Life will swell, reach its zenith, before the next resting time. All the events of spring and summer and autumn, of sprouting and growth and seed time, the beginning and the end, lie ahead. The whole circle of the seasons stretches away before us as we view the year from the cold plateau of January." (p.2)
~Edwin Way Teale, Circle of the Seasons
"Care is not passive – the word derives from an Indo-European word meaning 'to cry out', as in a lament. Care asserts that as difficult and painful as life can be, it is worth something to be in the present, alive, doing one's daily bit…combating sloth, being willing to care for oneself and others on a daily basis, is no small part of what constitutes basic human sanity, a faith in the everyday." (p.41-42)
~Kathleen Norris, The Quotidian Mysteries
A new year with all its possibility spreads out before me. Tomorrow morning I will get up. I will push back the voices that will whisper that it's just too hard, pray this prayer, and trust in His grace and goodness and strength to do my 'daily bit'. Who's with me?