“God walks among the pots and pans.” ~ St. Teresa of Avila
I stumble into my kitchen, moving slow, still in my gray-checked pajamas and striped fuzzy socks. The quiet house feels like a gentle hug as five of my kids have left to go to classes. The other child still sleeps, no doubt enjoying the calm, solitary space. The washer hums, the dog snores, and the heat subtlely cycles on and off. I melt a pat of butter in a pan.
I whisk two golden eggs, mix with some browned sausage and shredded cheddar, making myself a warm scramble of sorts. Green onions dot the top when I am done. I sit alone on the couch, reveling in my repast, whispering thanks for this moment.
This morning looks like countless others that each of us wakes up to. Food and drink, humming appliances, with random thoughts floating across our minds about the upcoming day. Nothing new, just the repetitions of life beginning as the sun rises.
I read that in an average person’s lifetime, he or she will spend 2000 hours brushing his or her teeth, 14,600 hours driving, 43,800 hours eating, and 58,400 hours doing chores. In other words, most of our lives are spent doing the small and quiet, the ordinary and mundane.
We don’t give these regular spaces much value but view them as the mindless path to the more important and productive times in our day. But more and more I see that these routines, chores and daily times of transition are the liminal spaces where we can meet God.
We need not separate the sacred from the ordinary, the “quiet times” and church attendance from our vacuuming and showering. Jesus showed up with a body that ate, slept, walked, built, taught. He told life-changing stories in fields and by mountains, shared truth around tables and while he washed feet. He listened and obeyed the Spirit at every small turn, trusting in the Father to accomplish His will through Him, step by step, person by person, meal by meal.
Adam S. McHugh, the author of The Listening Life, says that he spends his days praying the “Samuel prayer”. The words fall from his lips when he wakes up or lies down, when paying bills, cooking and even when scooping the cat litter because he needs “the reminder that the winds of the Spirit blow through every place and activity”.
“Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”
This is the prayer of Samuel. The point of this prayer is simply to make space for God’s presence in our lives, a slow-down, an openness of our hearts to His movement, as we prepare our food, shower our bodies, shake out rugs, and run our errands. We acknowledge that Spirit lives within us, prompting, guiding, speaking and listening to us, an invitation to a holy conversation in the midst of life.
I often make connecting with the Lord too hard, too prescribed, too idealistic, with “shoulds” dominating my relational landscape. What would it be like today to open our hearts and breathe out a simple prayer? Open our ears, lean in, as we walk and talk and move?
Father, whisper to us in our ordinary tasks, our daily movements, and when we brush our teeth. Open our ears. Speak Lord, your well-loved servants are listening.