The Beloved Life can be about transcendent moments. Moments when time is suspended in wonder, when the magic and glory of life and creation and our space in it are illuminated. The Beloved Life holds births and deaths, mountain summits and high holy days.
But more often, the Beloved Life is about five loads of laundry, what’s for dinner, nothing to wear and mom-I’m-bored days. The reality is that if we are going to live Beloved, most of the time that means living out our belovedness in the mundane.
The good news is that there is wisdom, and deep deep peace to be discovered in the commonplace and often repetitive tasks of day to day life. We are so accustomed to the rhythms of cleaning and cooking and caring that our minds and spirits are left free to burrow more deeply into the moment.
I can remember as clearly as a photograph a moment from five years ago, right after we moved into this house. We had unpacked the boxes, but changed little in the house itself. Scary countertops and plain white walls surrounded me, and the list grew every day. We were only beginning the process of making this home. To the casual observer, I was surrounded by reasons for discontent and distraction.
But I was ironing. It is a process so familiar to me, from our early married days when I wrestled with pressing Army uniforms, that my hands worked busily and automatically, smoothing, spraying with starch, guiding the iron carefully. My thoughts and spirit somehow rested, and breathed deeply. I don’t know how to explain it, but all of a sudden I knew, from the soles of my feet to the top of my head, and glowing like a well of warmth in my belly, that we were home. Truly, home, and inhabiting a good life. Independent of repairs and remodels and paint swatches and pictures to hang, I was filled with peace, contentment and belonging.
Sometimes living beloved in the mundane is just doing the next good thing, because it needs to be done and we can do it. Because it contributes well to the lives of those we love and to the orderliness of our beloved home. In times of stress or worry, ordinary tasks can be rituals of comfort. As such, they are enough.
But there is also the possibility that hiding in an everyday chore is a heavenly moment. Being present to our Beloved Life means no moment, dull or divine, is wasted, and there is no moment in which we are not Beloved.