Many of us in the blog-o-sphere must have our mothers to thank for being our first readers. Some things don’t change much. I find putting up a blog post, in some ways, to be like toiling over a drawing back in early childhood, head tucked down close to the paper (the screen), agonizing over every line, every shadow (every word, every phrase), feeling a swelling of pride when it is finished, holding my breath and lifting the creation up for all to see (in this case, pressing that big blue Publish button).
Pressing that publish button – it’s an act of faith, hope, creation, sharing, ego. Every time I do it, I know that what I’ve agonized over is unlikely to be read by more than a handful of my closest acquaintances. And the stats playfully confirm it, too: the map lights up – “Oh, my friends and family in the U.S. are online! There’s my smattering of friends in Canada. Ahh, my lone friend in Australia has read my post! Why so many visits from China? Hmmm…do I know someone in Estonia?”
Next there’s a nagging nibbling at the back of my mind: I really should be doing something more productive with my time. . . like making my children breakfast. My handful of friends and family are going to get sick of seeing these blog posts pop up over and over again. Or, worse, those aren’t my friends and family at all, but just a smattering of joyless, thoughtless, hunting bots crawling across the vast digital content of this planet!!!
But then, Mom tacks the drawing up onto the refrigerator and makes me feel great about it. Or . . . in this adult version . . . she shares a kind comment or a repost to her friends on Facebook. Validation!!!
My Mom and I live far from each other. Mom’s satellite internet connection sucks so video calls are just an exercise in screen-freezing torture and “what-was-that-you-cut-out” frustration. So we don’t talk that often. My parents don’t like to travel, and I’m in that stage of life where I have extremely limited time and funds to travel, so we see each other even less. The opportunities to feel supported by each other and to share ideas and thoughts are few, and I hate to say it, but for me, often my experience of family love relative to my parents and brother and sister is more an intellectual exercise in knowing it exists than an experiential state of feeling and sharing love together. Distance, time, travel funds — such is the reality we live in.
Which makes Mom’s comments on my posts even more meaningful to me. There aren’t that many opportunities to explore thoughts and contemplations with my Mom. Unfortunately, that in turn means, there aren’t that many opportunities to discover her, to grow to know her, as a more complete and complex individual than just “my mother.” When those opportunities arise, they are precious.
So today, Mom’s comment was extra wonderful. It wasn’t just a kind or supportive one, a pinning of my drawing to the fridge. It was her own really beautiful contemplation on where God might be seen and found in this world, a comment that entices a deeper, richer contemplation of where “God,” where meaning, might be unexpectedly discovered and enjoyed in the most mundane-seeming aspects of our lives. But more importantly to me, it’s a comment that reveals a little glimpse into the universe of thought and consideration going on inside of her – a small window of connection that allows me to know her better. My mother sharing her own drawing back to me.
It seems to me, and I’m sure to many of you, that perhaps the simplest and also most profound way we can live a better life and make the world a better place is to strive to live love. But I don’t think we can truly love if we do not seek to richly know and understand others. Love may not require proximity in geography, or a requisite number of annual visits, but it does require connection, at least in thought if not in person. One of my hopes in starting this blog, compared to my previous blogs, is that it might, over time, become more conversational and be more than just me sharing my random thoughts into the world. I hope it might be a point of connection, and that others will share their ideas (hit the Comments or the Contact Me!), their testimonies if you will, on finding meaning, love, and God in little things and in connection with others.
So here it is, the first guest post from Mom:
[The idea of] looking for God in the small moments of our lives reminded me of something I heard Neil deGrasse Tyson say on the radio:
“There are more molecules of water in a cup of water than cups of water in all the world’s oceans.” and “There are more molecules of air in a single breath of air than there are breaths of air in Earth’s entire atmosphere.”
Those were mind-blowing ideas for me. So that, combined with [this post], made me think: I imagine people who climb mountains, when they reach the summit, can see the face of God all around them. But since I’m not a person who climbs mountains it’s good to be reminded that God is also in every molecule of breath we inhale and in the trickle of water going down our throats.
And it follows then, that there is communion in words shared upon the breath, whether they be from the great minds that have lived before or among us or on words whispered to each other by exhausted parents before they give in to the rest they need. And while there is communion in meals shared by dignitaries as they discuss ways to solve great problems on the earth, so too there is communion in the glass of water being handed to a thirsty child.
Thank you, Mom, for tacking my drawing up onto the refrigerator, for participating in this conversation, for making the thoughts richer, deeper, and more beautiful, and for sharing with others.