Breakfast in an ideal world would have been slightly elaborate and gently decorative, with children waking to its call and cheerfully sitting to their share. Coffee would have been hot and enjoyed in good company. In reality, breakfast was a quickly scavenged tidbit of toast and berries before one child lost all stomach contents on the couch, another began wailing for a nap, and Will again abandoned hope of an early work day. Coffee went cold during clean up.
Ideally, the day from then on would have been peaceful and yet productive with stacks of books devoured, floating ideas for writing pinned down squarely, chores accomplished with a flourish of grace, and children happily at play in a yard blossoming with all the robust breath of spring. But really, the day... oh the day. The day was a jerk and go affair of chores here, quick read aloud there, teaching moment somewhere between, patience lost not long before, children wailing over being told to play outdoors awhile, spankings, hugs, soaked clothes, unfinished laundry, laughter, wonder, despair, etc. etc. All this with at least one little soul tucked under an arm and another at heel and my heart only able to throw up one sentence prayers of "have mercy," "did you see that?" and "thank you." Mostly the first one.
I could put in a lot more elaborate detail to that ideal world I sometimes find my mind wandering too, but even its bare bones are pretty appealing. But as I type and think my way through it, I'm realizing it's missing an incredibly necessary aspect: Hope.
Hope for the greater, the better, the more perfect that is only found in the presence of a holy and good God. For in an ideal world there is much to be thankful for and content with but very little to prompt one to be so. There is every bit of need for Savior broken for our sake as in reality, but very little brokeness to press one toward Him. I'm reminded of something I read that someone quoted in very broken circumstances:
In every visit, every meeting I attend, every appointment I keep, I have been anticipated. The risen Christ got there ahead of me. The risen Christ is in that room already. What is he doing? What is he saying? What is going on?. . . I have taken to quoting before every visit or meeting: ‘He is risen. . . he is going before you to 1020 Emmorton Road; there you will see him as he told you.’ Later in the day it will be: ‘He is risen . . . he is going before you to St. John’s hospital; there you will see him, as he told you.’ When I arrive and enter the room, I am not so much wondering what I am going to do or say that will be pastoral as I am alert and observant for what the risen Christ has been doing that is making a gospel story out of this life. [...]
I prefer the broken reality with the risen Lord filling its shack-like appearence with an overwhelming light of victory. I prefer the gospel living and breathing in the grace-drenched and mercy-dependent aspects of the constantly outstretched arms of my girls, cold coffees, whisps of conversation and prayer with Will, and laundry mountains. I prefer hope.