Enchanted Living

An enchanted life has many moments when the heart is overwhelmed with beauty and the imagination is electrified by some haunting quality… Enchantment may be a state of rapture and ecstasy in which the soul comes to the foreground, and the literal concerns of survival and daily preoccupation at least momentarily fade into the background.

For the past couple of days Cohen has had an on and off fever that defies any real explanation. (Perhaps I should call Dr. House)He isn’t coughing or sneezing or congested. He hasn’t thrown up or had any digestive issues. I thought maybe we were on to something this morning when he pointed to his mouth and said, “ouchie, Mommy”. I had him open his mouth wide, fully expecting to have an ‘ah-ha!’ moment of finding a new tooth. Instead, I found a peice of turkey stuck between two particularly snug teeth in the back. Don’t think that’s causing a fever. I am not a doctor, but you know, I just don’t think that’s it.

Aside from the lack of steady sleep (I’m getting sleep, just the highly disrupted kind), there are some sweet moments to be had when you’ve got an under the weather tot.

Cohen probably said a hundred times last night when he woke up hot and uncomfortable, “hold you, Mommy” which of course translates in Co-speak to “hold me, Mommy”.

We ended up on the couch after the last dose of motrin and he insisted that we lay spoon style with my arm underneath his neck and my other hand rubbing his back (he’s so my child). He drifted off to sleep and with the room dimly lit by the bluish tones of the TV, I just watched him. For a second I thought to myself how I would want to kill anyone else for waking me up at all hours of the night, but even that thought filtered in and out of my mind in a micro-second. In that moment, I realized how completely taken I am with him. Sometimes during the day things move so fast I get caught up in discipline and activity and even though I’d tell you in a second how much I love him, I’m not completely bowled over by it.

He’s gotten a bit of a tan this summer, being that he’d prefer to never be inside while the sun is shining. So his face is sunkissed and his hair has highlights I’d die for… some of them are so light they almost look white on the end of his curls. His eyelashes are thick and dark beneath is perfect almond shaped eyes.

I know the days are fast approaching when a fever will mean he’s begging me to stay home from school, not for me to hold him.

So I let myself be overwhelmed with the beauty of the moment.

I held him during naptime today for awhile too and I remembered the above quote from Thomas Moore’s incredible book, The Re Enchantment of Everyday Life.

At the point when I first encountered the book, it was a breath of fresh air to me as a person who had a hard time getting still. In devouring it, I discovered the depth of my busyness. I felt convicted by his take on food and friendship and nature… all things to be savored that had gotten buried under lists and lists of tasks.

Now, in re-reading portions of the book, I find he’s given words to the longings I feel gaining strength each new day.

I always wondered why adults complained about not having enough hours in the day and now I know. Regretfully, I know.

I dream of gardening and reading on the front porch and waking up naturally instead of to the annoying alarm on my phone. When I think about simplifying life and cutting down on the things I own, I just feel this rousing of my soul.

And I don’t want to ignore it.

I lived without a TV for a number of years and I am thinking of not moving the one I have into my new house. I know lots of people can have a TV and not get sucked into it, so I am not making that a standard of holiness or anything. Its just that when I think about not moving, I feel that rousing.

I am thankful that even though I got my house for an absolute STEAL, I don’t have much money to put into it. There’s something about knowing I will be intimately involved in all of the restoration and that most of the items coming in will be old and storied that gives me that same alive feeling.

I used to be attracted to people I considered to be the ‘movers and shakers’- the important people- the upwardly mobile people- the people with deep thoughts and intellectually solutions to problems. Lately, I’ve noticed my tastes have changed. The company of the quiet and the content and those whose days are full of normalness intrigue me most. I’m finding a like a good cup of coffee and a long conversation that’s peppered with profound truths amid a lot of everyday life stuff almost as much as I enjoy anything else.

I used to want to do BIG things in the world. You know, the kind of things that garner attention and accolades and praise. I wanted to leave my mark. Now, I find the greatest pleasure in seeing my herb garden grow and my son learn new words and sharing with someone God places in my path. I don’t think any of those things will make even Bellefontaine’s little newspaper, and yet, these are the things that make my soul breathe.

I feel compelled to simplify my life… not to just wave the white flag of surrender to the American pace of life and hope for the best, but to listen to the cry of my soul… and to begin to discipline my life in a way that affords my soul less activity and more life.

I am going to leave you today with another quote from the book that will hopefully give you some pause to consider the health of your own soul,

It’s important to be heroic, ambitious, productive, efficient, creative, and progressive, but these qualities don’t necessarily nurture soul. The soul has different concerns, of equal value: downtime for reflection, conversation, and reverie; beauty that is captivating and pleasuring; relatedness to the environs and to people; and any animals rhythm of rest and activity.

13 Comments

  1. Thank you, Kate. Sometimes I forget that my desire for a simple life is just as important as those who make their mark doing “really important” things.

    I needed this today. God bless you.

  2. I believe there is tremendous beauty in simplicity.

  3. Simplicity = Sanity

    After my kids were born I had the same revelation. I soon realized that discipline and keeping it simple were the keys to happiness! Great thoughts, Kate!

  4. love this post. resonates with me, too — motherhood really aides us in slowing down and taking a second look at our lives and our priorities, though motherhood rarely feels “slow”! i want to do this with you, kate!

  5. I feel like you read my mind today. I have really been overwhelmed and feel like no matter how hard I work, I can’t keep up. Then I wonder why! I have a hungering to simplify and get rid of the things that really steal my time away from truly important things in life. I don’t need the stress of stuff and busyness. I have seriously been considering when to start going through every room of my house and down sizing stuff. It would take a lot of work, but my quality of life would be greatly improved! Ahhh… my mind has been going over these things a lot lately.

  6. I know the feeling of being “taken with” a little boy. If I could stop time, and keep my son at age 3, I would totally do it. He has my heart wrapped around his finger. Today, he starts pre-school. And although I am excited to see him grow and develop in new ways, I am greiving his babyhood at the same time…

    I refuse to let life escape me by being too busy to live it. (That’s why my house is always a mess!)

    Great post, Kate.
    God bless.

  7. I will give you a slight glimmer of hope. My son is six and a half and when he isn’t feeing well he loves sitting on my lap and being held. (I know I might not have that much longer but he is such a snuggler I think he might continue at least another year) So with Co you have a few more years.
    It’s amazing how much of the love you have for children can be felt when they are sleeping. I love watching my kids sleep cuz it’s then I can reflect on the times that they are sweet and not be caught up in the sibling rivalry and crazies of the day.

  8. Awesome post Kate! :) These lyrics from this Telecast song sprung to mind as I was reading it:

    It’s the beauty of simplicity
    That brings me down to my knees
    I’ll Praise You for eternity
    And Lord I love you
    Because you, you first loved me

    It’s the beauty of simplicity
    That fills me with eternity
    I tasted your divinity
    And Lord I love you
    Because you, you first loved me

    And all God’s people say
    We, we love you
    We love you Lord
    We love you
    And we, we love you
    We love you Lord
    We love you
    We love you

  9. I needed this post today…need to be reminded that checking off a “to do” list doesn’t complete me. It just inks up a piece of paper.

    I came home sick and exhausted from work today, after getting back from driving 12 hours yesterday home from a road trip (we weirdly enough passed Bellefontaine, and I waved to you and Cohen!). Instead of coming home, changing into PJs and flopping into bed, I decided first that I had to unpack…and then tidy my bedroom…and then tidy the living room…and then put in a few loads of laundry and change my sheets.

    I stopped knowing when to stop.
    This helps.

    Thanks, Kate. :)

  10. I have always been one of those who wants to be a mover and a shaker – not necessarily to be in the spotlight, but to feel like things i do have purpose and meaning in a larger way. I still want to do great things! But after living at home for a year now (after being independent in college for 4 years before the past year), I have started to realize the little things that I would have missed out on had I moved away and went on to do “great things”. I would have missed the opportunity to ride to work with my mom each day, having our little conversations about everyday things. I would have missed the opportunity to reconnect with friends back at home. I would have missed the chance the plant herbs with my sisters and go grocery shopping for summer fruits!

    I am still a “shaker” at heart, and I am sure this is exactly how God planned for me to be. However, I have also started to embrace the fact that I need to slow down in order to see what is truly in His heart – what He desires, not what I think I need or want.

    Blessings with your new/old house!!

    P.S: A great book I have been reading (on my “spare” time hehe) is Joanna Weaver’s “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World” – speaks to us busy women!

  11. Love this post, Kate.

    Motherhood is a tricky thing to wrap your mind around sometimes. I love the idea of becoming completely engulfed with the joy of loving your kid(s). Because that’s a mission we’re assigned to and when we take that extreme joy from that mission, we can totally be fulfilled. Love it. :)

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