Guest post Tuesday! Today’s writer is a ray of sunshine and an encourager to the core. She’s a real-life friend who teaches me what it means to be present in my everyday, ordinary life. And in today’s post on #rituals, Missy teaches all of us the importance not only of taking a few moments for ourselves, but of recharging. Enjoy …and then go hop into the bath!
I have been way over-thinking this. My mind has been whirling, wondering: what is the difference between tradition and ritual and habit? Can rituals benefit you for a season and then change? How have my rituals actually been transforming?
How do you hold on to rituals when life throws you a new “adventure” – aka challenge?
I said that I’d be a guest writer for Cara way back when…and as I’ve followed along, I’ve had the joy of reading all the beautiful stories ya’ll have shared. I’ve found myself wanting to holler at each of you– just to say, “ME TOO!” From dance parties, to snuggles, to sunsets and special meals– all of those things deepen our story- because they ground us in what is important. We long to laugh, to belong, to connect to the BIGGER- even the eternal- story. We long for our lives to matter, for our kids to savor precious memories of feeling treasured, and for our own personal souls to flourish.
This week, ideas kept pouring into my head- which is great, because it has been a hard year for me to find the right words to convey the thoughts that swirl in my mind and flood my heart. This was a year of depression, paralyzing fear and though I tried, nothing excited me. The year of “Meh”. But, now, I’m out out of that pit– mostly–and was truly excited to explore what RITUAL means to me. I began scribbling notes on random napkins and on the back mail envelopes- and found that I have so many rituals and traditions that have shaped my life.
One ritual that has become vital to my “story” is my Saturday Sabbath Bath. A new ritual that I now look forward to each week. Let me explain: I crave quiet. I crave warmth. I crave relief for my achy back. For the last four years we lived in a lovely home– except it was a home without a bath tub. Our one tiny bathroom held a toilet (so close to the small sink that we could wash our hands while sitting on the potty) and a shower, that my husband and tween-aged son hogged. In fact, all five of us would fuss and fight over this space. Our girlie would never have enough hot water to wash her hair, so it would become all rats-nest-y. Our baby (ok, he is 3, but we still refer to him as the “baby”) hated the way the water got in his eyes, so I’d have to strip down and drag him in myself, guarding the door while I quickly soaped him down- all while he screamed. (Could these be considered “rituals”?)
So, about a month ago we moved from the peninsula up to the CITY. We love San Francisco and have always wanted to move up here- and it was nothing short of a miracle that we got here. The thing we all love best about our new digs: the big pink-tiled bathroom and the long white tub. We hop in it anytime we are bored, because we love it so! One problem: every time I try and hop in it, two small children follow. They want to make up stories with the foam animals, sing songs about bubbles and pretend that the Nemo fish is getting cooked up in the “oven” – the soap dish. Most days I don’t mind, but after too many days in a row of this, I need a break from the noise. I become tired- soul tired. Mayday, Mayday! I need to do something that will refresh my soul- STAT!- before my sweet family experiences the wrath of Crabby Mommy.
Enter Super Daddy. On Saturdays, he likes to take the kids out to Daddy Donut Day. (Yay, another ritual!- And, while we live here we are going to embrace all the things this food-paradise-of-a-city offers.) He has a list of about a dozen places to hit up– they have already been to four. Which means, I have had four glorious baths- all. to. myself.
If there is anything that I have learned from my struggles this year, it is that a quiet space for re-charging is essential. Space to re-start a new week, to relax my weary muscles and to re-engage my dreams. I light a candle, I pour in my essential oils and I stretch out and let the glorious warm water envelop me. The sun shines brightly through the high window, illuminating the room with a joyful peace. I breathe slowly- in and out. I pray. I sing. I think. I dream. If it starts to get cold, I drain a little water, and refill the tub- the hot steam rising up around me. I have to choose to make this a priority- for my mental health, for the sake of my marriage, and so I can re-emerge as Friendly Mommy. Nobody else can do it for me. I am the one who has to be very intentional to create space to nourish my soul- and I am so thankful for a new ritual for this new season.
Missy began writing about their family journey to adoption three years ago. Last summer she wrote about the crazy long road trip she took with her three crazy children on her family blog. Her Hunnie is a pastor in the Bay Area and her heart beats for missions, justice, hope and rest!! She loves books, words and the therapy of writing, and loves to share authentically on her blog. Or contact Cara if you’d like to connect with her via email.