Most books on the spiritual life almost inevitably leave readers feeling like we just have one more thing to do. I work actively against this. The last thing those caught in the demands of family life need is one more exercise to implement, one more task to execute, one more ideal to live up to. Parenting is guilt-inducing enough without this. If anything, I want to lighten the load by offering a child-friendly, caregiver-supportive, non-elitist understanding of faith and theology. I want people to see what they are already doing and do these practices with greater intentionality, awareness, respect, care, and reflection. Nobody excels in all practices. Everyone has to start somewhere. So I pick favorites and invite others to do the same. The practices I name–pondering, playing, reading, loving, doing justice, blessing, and letting go–are illustrative, not exemplary. They are named to provoke imagination about one’s own life and the grace to see God within it when we are honest about the difficulties and attentive to the gifts.
– Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore, “Theological Protest and the Spiritual Life” in A Spiritual Life: Perspectives from Poets, Prophets, and Preachers, edited by Allan Hugh Cole Jr. (Westminster John Knox Press, 2011).
This quote applies equally well to parents and non-parents, to those facing the demands of family life or (more broadly) daily life whatever those demands might be.
Instead of adding one more thing, what practices are you already doing? What would it mean for you to do these with “greater intentionality, awareness, respect, care, and reflection”?
Categories: Spiritual Practice