“Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.”
I cannot remember when I first began reading Chesterton, but it has been years and years. When I first stumbled upon his writings I devoured him. I loved his wit and then I found out I loved his wisdom as well. He doesn’t know everything, but he has this way of refreshing my soul on days when I need refreshment. There is something about his humor and wonder that draws me in, but he is no slouch; he makes me work when I read him.
I get sloppy in my reading.
I get sloppy in life, to be honest.
Days are a bit full with a husband, four children, a dog, two cats and four fish living in the house. The laundry piles up, the dishes pile up, the dust piles up…the duties pile up. It is easy to come downstairs, get my cup of coffee and sit down at the computer and be lulled into catching up on everything on FaceBook as the start to my day. There’s nothing wrong with that; I like seeing what is happening with my friends and I do find things happening I can pray for and folks I can catch up with in real time. Still, I am not a disciplined person and I too easily find that I have spent far too long in front of the computer and the children have appeared and the day is rolling and the duties are getting ahead of me…and things are getting sloppy.
And I am getting grumpy.
I am behind the day and trying to catch up.
I need, and I use that word intentionally, the space and time to read and to think. I need the sanity of those like Chesterton and Frederich Buechner and C. S. Lewis and Madeleine L’Engle and Henri Nouwen and Tim Keller and Sally Lloyd-Jones and … Scripture. I need the time and the space and the discipline to turn my face and my attention toward God before the duties and the demands of the day start getting ahead of me.
Now that the school schedule is about to come into swing, I need that all the more.
Or else, I begin to feel grumpy.
No, not just grumpy.
I begin to feel physically like I am going to explode.
I begin to feel like I need to run around the house and straighten things and get everything in order, RIGHT NOW. And the kids can tell that I am on edge, and everything goes downhill. Not a good environment for learning.
Turning off the superfluous noises. Those things that are okay, but are not necessary, so that I can turn to the necessary. Quieting the mornings so I can have that space and time to be silent and turn my attention toward God. I need the help of the authors I mentioned sometimes because I need help focusing my thoughts. They help me narrow my focus and quiet my spirit. FaceBook, internet…feeds my distraction. The lesson is not just for me. The season is for the boys as well; it is time for them to turn off the iPods and the Xbox and turn their attention to their studies. We have to make the space for silence and then introduce them to the those who can be our guides in learning how to think well in training our thoughts to think on God.
Turning off the superfluous.
Listening to tradition.
Feeding not only my mind with something worthwhile, but feeding my soul.
That doesn’t mean I’ll never turn on FaceBook again, but it does mean it is time to be intentional again. Setting up the day for a more peaceful start instead of irritation. The duties still have to be done, but I sure find they are easier when my spirit is not so agitated. There is time to simply catch up on the computer and sneak a peak at friends’ lives and play a game, but I know myself well enough to know I let it get the best of me and a little time ends up being far too long.
So here’s to a school year of intention, of reading from wise writers and being much less grumpy!!!