Friday, November 21, 2014

The Now but Not Yet

2014 is coming to an end mind blowingly fast. Where did it go??? I feel like the family with young babes has a particular understanding of living in the "now but not yet", which is what we as Christians refer to this season before Jesus returns for the second time. We are to be living every day to the fullest extent, but mystically with the reality that we will not be living this particular life forever. There is an eternity after this life, and as Christians this should impact every decision we make.

Intense. Humans have been trying to summarize this tension for hundreds of years...eventually coming up with phrases that we can block paint on pieces of wood and hang on our wall to remind us of our place in the universe. "Just passing through" was a popular one when I was growing up- the idea that we are strangers on this earth and our real home is in Heaven. This watered down theology has its dangers though. We aren't just passing through- we are living in a time of great movement and if Christians aren't putting down roots and engaging every part of this world we fail to live out our call to be "a royal priesthood and a holy nation. a people belonging to God". (I Peter) We aren't supposed to be just be surviving this life until the next one. We are to be planting our apple trees and building our tents. (credit: Martin Luther and Saint Paul). This world is beautiful and it matters. But it isn't forever.

This season of parenting does feel like it needs some phrases block painted on the wall to remind us that we should be living every day to its extent, but every day is the "not yet". The virtues we try to model and teach our children will not be often reflected in the daily reactions of our 3 and 4 year old darlings. That does not mean we shouldn't teach them, in fact there is an imperative that we raise our children with Christian virtues deeply rooted in their neighborhood, their school, their family, because the daily "now" is what teaches us to long for the future.

What we do daily is what turns our hearts towards what is important to us. "How we spend our moments is, of course, how we spend our lives". (Annie Dillard) Who we are, what we value, what we love- all these are lived out in the daily habits of our lives. The simple and the profound. Children are fabulous at teaching us this, if we slow down enough to watch and listen. Part of what made 2014 feel like it was on a record player set at the faster speed, was the fact that I wasn't just paying attention to my daily rhythms but the rhythms of two other people who are devouring the wonders of the universe one magic unicorn at a time. My Purslane and Knox are fabulous additions to my own habits and daily intentional decisions. But every parent has come to the end of some day or another and realized they didn't do one thing for themselves. Everything was about their children. Which is necessary for a season but as they grow more independent, there is new space for things other then parenting.

So I am working on finding the margins for my own daily life that help me to remember that I am living in the "now but not yet". To nourish my own soul. To figure out how to slow down the moments of the rest of 2014 and get ready for the crazy parade that 2015 is sure to be. To parent my children and love my husband and care for my patients and cherish my friends and serve my church and anticipate the reality of Christ coming again.

Sounds simple enough...

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