At Church this past Sunday, in honor of the first Sunday in Advent, the priest shared that he had visited with a gentleman who had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Despite his prognosis, he was in good spirits, and, before departing, the priest remarked on his laudable attitude with no small degree of reverence. The gentleman responded:
“Well, father — I’m just thankful that God gave me enough time to whitewash the house.”
I’ve been marinating on this since I left Church a few days ago.
What are the areas in my life that need some nurturing or cleansing?
What relationships have I left dormant?
What needs pruning?
The priest shared this story as a prompt for self-preening in the context of the watchfulness and wait of Advent, a blessedly less-morbid circumstance than the gentleman was facing. What parts of the house need cleaning today?
I have been guilty during this busy season of life of unreflecting neglect. I flat out forgot to include a loved one in a gathering recently, and she was deeply hurt — and though the oversight was unintentional, it reminded me of story a friend of mine shared a couple years ago. She’s an admittedly fairly clumsy person (to the point that she has broken several glasses and plates in our home) and she told me that, once, she had accidentally shattered a favorite ornament of her mother’s that had once belonged to her great-grandmother. “I didn’t mean to!” she interjected. Her mother replied: “Sometimes that’s not enough. Sometimes you have to mean not to.”
The priest’s sermon, and my recent carelessness in a cherished relationship, remind me of the importance of intentionality. I often feel that I’m moving along a track, my days littered with the micro-milestones of infant care and toddler nurture, the endless train of feeding and cleaning and singing and changing and reading and bathing, and can find it difficult to take a step back and think with any measure of perspective.
But ’tis the season. To practice mindfulness. To whitewash the house.
+Advent season is officially underway and so I have been stocking our Advent calendar with little gifts for mini every day. A couple of my favorite finds (would also be great stocking stuffers): this coloring roll, training chopsticks (she was very into using chopsticks when we got ramen last weekend!), safari bath foam puzzles, twistable crayons, Crayola bath dropz.
+I love white servewear, and this cabbage leaf bowl would be an ideal addition.
+Get the Lele padded headband look for a fraction of the price with this $33 steal.
+Can’t get enough velvet this season. Still dying over the blue velvet dress mini wore for Thanksgiving. Love this dress (upgrade pick: this) and this headband for mini, this romper for micro, and this dress and these flats for me.
+Love this striped blouse (on super sale!). I’ve been very impressed with everything I’ve ever purchased from Veronica Beard. Also think this (heavily-discounted!) tweed dress would be a great piece in any closet — could work for a baby shower, Sunday Mass, brunch, etc. So elegant but updated.
+Another label that has never disappointed me? Nicholas. I love its feminine shapes and interesting prints. This gorgeous dress is heavily discounted and currently sitting in my cart for next summer. (The skirt version of that dress is only $63!!! I can imagine wearing this with a simple white top and some white slides to a BBQ / summer birthday.) Also eyeing this stunning white number — only $120?!
+In honor of the Rockefeller Tree lighting this week, bought mini this book.
+Such a cute birthday gift idea for a three-year-old. Mini loves little sets like these — ideal for imaginative play, and I think there’s just something about the size of the pieces that is appealing to little hands.
+Just ordered this longline tweed blazer/cardigan hybrid.