Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith,
than an house full of sacrifices with strife.
It’s 9:30 a.m. and the laundry isn’t started yet. I haven’t done my aerobics DVD. There are still breakfast dishes on the table. I’m walking on bits of gravel from our paleontology project that are systematically being ground into my unvacuumed carpet. And I can’t tackle any of it right now because my baby needs to nurse, and homeschool is supposed to start in half an hour.
Worse than this, far, far worse than all of this, I’m grumping at my children, “NO, we can’t do that right now. I’m very behind on my schedule.”
And then my sensitive two and a half year old looks up at me with tears in his eyes and says, “I wanted you to take care of me.”
Time to declare a Dry Morsel Day.
When things get to the point where I’m putting all my projects, noble and even invaluable as they may be (like laundry), ahead of quietness; when the main source of strife in the home is Mommy, madly rushing about, griping over unmet personal expectations; it’s time to back off. It’s time to put my projects on the shelf, and smile, genuinely smile, at my children, ask their forgiveness, and redirect them to something happy while I make a new plan for the day. A much, much simpler plan.
The things that make me feel like life is good are usually bound up in accomplishment. I want to sew beautiful clothes, clean out cupboards, bake delectable dainties, have a spotless house, lose a couple more pounds, have my children working brilliantly at two grade levels ahead of their age mates, etc. But there are some days when I don’t really accomplish much of anything. Somehow time gets away from me, and then it’s later than it’s supposed to be, and I’m frustrated. Life feels bad.
But what makes my husband and children feel like life is good? One thing. Joy. They want to see a smile on my face. They want me to be bubbling along contentedly. If things don’t go right, they’d like to hear me laugh. They’d like to see that I’m OK, that a little gravel on the carpet cannot steal my joy.
On the days when I forget this, when my schedule and ambitions start screaming so loudly that my home is no longer a quiet and joyful place, I need to throw those screamers out. I need to give myself permission to have a different sort of day, to go back to basics, to do only what absolutely must be done, and only if I can do it calmly, cheerfully, and with my children. I call this a “Dry Morsel Day,” named for the time I was really stressed out and grumpy and my husband reminded me of Proverbs 17:1. Now I have the verse up in my kitchen to remind me that all the “sacrifices” that I so want to fill my house up with are not worth anything if they steal the quietness from my life.
When I die, I do not want my family to remember me as a sour, short-tempered workaholic, a slave to my schedule, and obsessed with projects. I’d like it if they remembered me as talented and industrious, but it is infinitely more important that they remember that I had a meek and quiet spirit, that I was calm, and loving, and delighted just to be with them.