A World Bigger Than Ourselves

We finished reading The Snow Queen. In its conclusion, I learned the value of reading longer works over a period of time to my children. This is a new-to-me activity. I hear other parents do this great thing. While reading, I saw my son’s eyes fixed into space as his brain painted the scenes Hans Christian Anderson described in so little words. He entered into the lasting legend of new characters on every page, a little heroine without shoes, bandits who kill or threaten to kill, and a Snow Queen so devastating we do not even bother with battling her, we just escape.


The Snow Queen Illustrations by Franz Wacik


This morning, I worked on my second book project, a devotional for expectant women looking for peace, a place of rest in prayer. It will utilize full-color fine art illustrations. My task is to find those illustrations. We have the internet, cars, electricity, nuclear power. To think how primitive some times seem because they had not technology as we have it or the plumbing, and then to see their art in its magnificence. Hundreds of years ago works were produced that are still beautiful, still relevant. Culture and tradition go back beyond the generations I am familiar with. In a shared heritage, I get a glimpse into a different time and space and see its value.


The Adoration of the Shepherds,1760s, Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich.jpg
The Adoration of the Shepherds,1760s, Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich


This week, my husband literally uncovers more of the history of our home as he digs up pipes that are connected to nothing, running a sprinkler line for the flower bed I hope to have without the interference of chickens eating my alyssum and cilantro.

Last week, a Jewish friend came to our home and led our Catholic family in a Jewish Seder, a process which educated me in the Jewish roots of Catholic practices, and humbled me before the great history and suffering of a people I do not belong to, but love.

Platonist and modern philosophers might have thought we were part of a collective mind, a collective consciousness. My mind operates independently but looking up at the stars or waiting for the trees to leaf out and discover what they are, I see that I am just one piece of one thread of a magnificent tapestry.

With each study I begin, I want to discover more about this image and how it was woven. It does me no good to try to dictate the image that is woven. I must do my part to be where I am, thread that I am, connecting the dots of my parents, my children, my neighbors and my friends.

If I once wrote repetitively about grief or beauty, the meditation this season is that we are part of a bigger picture. If we have the wisdom to know this, we can discover what it is. If we have the humility to be open in discovering it, it will reveal itself as we focus our eyes in observation, our brains in study.

I could get bogged down in the day-to-day tasks: the wet laundry waiting to be hung, the dirty dishes calling out to be washed, the crumbs at risk of falling prey to ants. Or I could jump beyond the fence that borders our little world and break my heart every day with each new news of a terrorist attack, of an ancient church on fire, the crimes and wild fancies of politicians. Or I can dig a hole for my head in the sand, focusing on social media, twitter arguments, beautiful spaces that do not belong to me on Instagram, or endless articles and group interactions I cannot adequately follow on Facebook.


From a presentation by Collin Kartchner at our local junior high


But rather than let comparison steal my joy, I can remember that hardly anyone is watching. We can sing in the living room, yell in the back yard and when the sun sets, take some time to remember that the world is not my oyster with a pearl just for me. It is the ocean, full of wonders and terrors, and beauties yet to be discovered. It is an adventure.


  1. Colleen says:

    I Love your writing and your musings on the ordinary life of magnificent motherhood:)

    1. Thank you so much, Colleen!

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