I do what a lot of us do on a typical day.
I wake up, get kids to school, work, work out, shop, cook, pay bills.
On the good days, I find joy in the process. Or rather, it finds me.
On the worst days, I wish for—what? More adventure, more money, more time, more ease. You fill in the blank with your own yearnings. The yearning is universal. It’s the object of the yearning to which we each bring our own flavor.
I know a woman—a quiet, unassuming woman you wouldn’t look twice at—who I’m sure has those same yearnings. She is human, after all. But, at least to my untrained eye, she seems to have mastered the art of holy making.
Put another way, she knows how to bring the sacred into the every day. Not sacred in the religious sense—rule bound and rigid. Sacred in the real sense—bringing an iota of the divine into our precarious world.
She does not do this in a showy, Martha Stewart-ish way. No pics on Facebook of the delicious cake she baked just because it was a Tuesday. No bragging about her children’s grades, helped in large part I’m sure by her fostering curiosity and a decent work ethic.
No, none of this crass showmanship for her. She quietly raises four children with her husband. She tends to the dog. The house is immaculate. Dinners are healthy and treats are generally homemade. Discussions are thoughtful, respectful and open.
When you enter her house and spend any length of time there, you walk away feeling peaceful. Nurtured. Like you’ve spent time in an oasis to which you’ll want to return. Early and often.
Her energy is in stark contrast to some other homes I’ve visited. The homes where your empty appetizer plate is whisked off of the counter the moment you’ve set it down. And that same counter is wiped down with Windex immediately. Not. Kidding.
She brings the beauty of a simple, uncluttered space without the manic energy some folks require to get to that point.
Is she perfect? Of course not. If pressed, she’ll admit to a penchant for too much Starbucks coffee and a youngest child who knew how to ask for a scone at said Starbucks as soon as he could speak. She feels overwhelmed some days, just like the rest of us.
But the holy making continues, even on those days.
I’m not sure if it’s her strong faith in a higher power, her large and supportive family of origin or just a quality she was gifted at birth, but if you want the holy, the serene, the grounded—she’s a lightning rod for all three.
Holy making doesn’t mean you’re wearing Betty Crocker’s apron and baking all day. It means you bring intention to what you do. You value home and those you love. Whether it’s wine and cheese for one after a long day at work or dinner for six before your child’s play—you respect it. Appreciate it. Are thankful for it.
Some single moms order in more than they cook. But there are candles on the table and good conversation. Some large families barely know who to expect on which night, due to the constantly moving schedules. But fresh flowers are on the hall table and there’s an “I love you” note next to the leftovers. It’s not perfect. But it’s loving and intentional.
A Buddhist tale goes as such: A student comes to his master and says, “Every day I have to sweep the floor, prepare my gruel and do laundry. How can I escape this routine?” The master replies, “Sweep the floor, prepare your gruel, and do your laundry.”
While the rest of us wait for our vacation, the holidays, a friend’s visit or the stellar report card to celebrate joy, my pal just makes it happen. By not chasing it. Just doing what is in front of her to do, with intention and care.
I think a lot about unsung heroes. The people who create a loving home, a solid foundation, an oasis of peace. In a world where I am disheartened and sickened by videotaped beheadings, and angry mobs whose collective anger is about so much more than the obvious cause, unsung heroes are cool water to our parched souls.
They’re not brokering peace in the Middle East or solving our education problems.
They’re creating peace and yes, joy, one moment—and one soul—at a time.
I think they’re on to something.
And I want in.