Having taken paternity leave with the arrival of our twins, I haven’t “worked” in nearly two months. With that said, there has been no time for reading deep, reflective books on spiritually. No time to engage world issues. No time to be active and seek the healing of systemic injustices in our neighborhood.
No, there has been time for one thing and one thing only; being a dad.
If I’m honest, it’s been a struggle. The same exhausting, under appreciated, sleepless, messy and relentless grind of parenting four kids, all of whom are four years old or younger. There are certainly moments of joy, pride and gratitude, but they are far less frequent than the ones of discouragement and delirium.
In the midst of the fog, I had a bit of an epiphany a couple weeks ago. I found myself thinking about how I would find time for spiritual practices to be reintegrated into my life and dreaming about the intellectual growth I would experience when I go back to “work.” It was as though I was telling myself, “If you just survive this season, then you can finally get back to attending to your spirituality and formation.”
This is when the epiphany hit; If I don’t connect my parenting with my spirituality and formation, I’m missing out on potentially the most important season of my discipleship journey.
Changing diapers at 3am = Opportunity to choose selfless sacrifice.
Responding to yet another 2 year old melt down = Opportunity to model grace and understanding.
Chaos of everyday life = Opportunity to embrace and live into an everyday spirituality.
Weeks/months between dates with my wife = Opportunity for me to get creative in what love and intentionality look like.
These are all opportunities for me to choose to grow in my personal formation and live more like the One I follow. I can’t see these as hurdles to jump so I can then get back to my spirituality and formation. No, these are the very experiences that are forming me into who I am created to be. To be fully human. To be connected to the gift of life that is pulsating in every moment of everyday. To choose to live a life of self-sacrifice for the flourishing of others.
I don’t have this figured out in the least, but I do want to give it a shot. I don’t have to wait. We don’t have to wait. We just have to wake up to what is right in front of us and be fully present there.
Maybe that is what love looks like and what the gift of discipleship means in the midst of the mundane and unglamorous realities of daily life.