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Hushing the hustle

I love the change of seasons, the turn of a calendar page, the disruption of routines that means an opportunity awaits to make a change. For the first time in recent memory, our summer calendar is not already penciled full of must-dos and must-bes even before the season arrives. Instead, there are open squares — sometimes many in a row — and an invitation to be intentional about what we invite into our lives for this season.

What I really want more than anything are days of a simple liturgy of joy. Not a formal liturgy inside a church building (though there will room for daily Mass) — but a purposeful season where the routines and rhythms and practices of daily life are inclined toward the quiet and the ordinary. After a season of noise and hustle, I look forward to a summer of simple, of returning to what I want, deep down.

I want days that begin and end the same way. In the morning, at the same time every day, I want unhurried quiet time in the Word that will fill me and fuel me. Then, every creaky bone that has been stilled by a prolonged winter and spring of illness wants to walk in early sunshine before the heat and humidity. In a kitchen filled with growing (and grown) children, I intend to create meals that require the peeling and chopping of farmer’s market treasures and are eaten outside more often than not. And those meals will happen around the same time every day. There will be a morning offering, daily Mass, a silent prayer offered over her as I braid her hair before swimming, time to recollect at the end of the day, bedtime liturgies that join us with the universal church in the offering of evening prayer.

As I tap it all out, it sounds full, and it is. But it also is not. There are the quotidian movements of everyday, accompanied by brief but purposeful aspirations heavenward, and together they give structure to the substance of an intentional life. There is room, though — room for God to fill us with his glory. We need it. We are spent by this last season. As happens so often in this bustling, striving, hurrying culture where we live and breathe and try to raise our families for God, the hustle has hushed the holy. For me, it’s very hard to feel anchored in Christ when I’m jumping through complex hoops set out by other people who run in a race not set by the Lord.

This summer, I want the world to quiet enough to hear the simple liturgy of everyday holiness — the kind that fills mothers and children alike. I want to make strawberry pie, and then blueberry pie and then peach pie, each in its turn after the fruit has grown round and ripe and we’ve picked and sampled it while it’s still warm from the sun. I want to stand waist deep in the pool and catch a toddler as he jumps over and over. I want to watch the sun rise and to notice the glory when it sets over the lake nearby. I want to fill myself with the joy that I know can be tangible (and thrilling even) when I remain in his love. The ordinary rhythm of an everyday life is extraordinary when it has been too long since its importance was honored. As the season turns, it’s time to pay close attention to everyday summer liturgies and to make room for them.

I was created for God’s glory, and so were you. This summer, think about what brings you joy — deep, abiding, restful joy. Know that the Holy Spirit inspires the true and beautiful things that bring you joy. God wants those things for you and he lives and breathes in you when you embrace what truly brings you joy.

In this small space before summer, look closely at the myriad obligations that have competed for your joy, the things that have crowded out the holy hush and upended any semblance of order in your days. With prayer, let them go. If necessary, force them away. Reclaim the space and the time you need for a summer that sings a simple liturgy of holy joy.

Foss, whose website is takeupandread.org, is a freelance writer from Northern Virginia.


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019