As we begin The Year of the Family, Mother Teresa’s words encourage us:
How do we bring love into our homes? One way is to be intentional in sustaining ways of life that maintain what we hold most dear. Often, this requires a hidden, behind-the scenes work.
I recognized this intentional work when I pulled into my daughter-in-law Stephanie’s driveway. After exchanging waves, she headed to her appointment, and I headed into the house to watch my grandkids for a few hours. Two of the kids were napping and the others would be home soon.
Walking in, I saw small plates on placemats circling the table; apple slices and muffins were arranged for the afternoon snack. On the counter, a cup of tea was steeping for me. With mug in hand, I scanned the living room. Library books propped up on the window seat stood ready for the little ones when they woke. Towers of blocks and a horse corral were signs of earlier play. The fireplace flickered. Steph’s stack of books and journal sat on a shelf. Struck by the simplicity and order in the home, I was surprised to hear myself say out loud: “These kids are blessed to be in this family.”
Implicitly, I understood that life is lived here; meals are shared; prayers are prayed. There is a rhythm to the day, a stability. All of this is the fruit of a quiet work that proclaims,
“I love my family and I desire that we live life together in a beautiful way.”
Living with a love for family life day in and day out is essential for putting down roots. Simone Weil understood this when she wrote, “To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul.” One way to put down roots and bring love into our homes is through our family and faith traditions.
By reading books together, we help sustain a tradition of reading, which is a gift not only to our families but to the world.
The word tradition means to transfer, to hand over for safekeeping. In a relay race, the most dramatic moment where the race is often won or lost is in the transfer zone, the ten meters where the baton must be securely handed off to the next runner. Today, in a time of unprecedented cultural change, families are in the transfer zone. Will our faith and traditions be securely handed over to our children?
Ten years ago, when Well-Read Mom began, we desired to create a place for women, not to escape from family life and work, but to experience a kind of leisure through friendship and literature so that women could return to their lives with a renewed vision and vigor.