Yesterday I watched the sunset. I never, ever do that.
My kids were in bed early and quickly because they had had a long day. I was tired and just needed to sit for a bit before I began the after hours routine that finishes the day. A woman's work is never done.
But for ten minutes I sat quietly doing nothing but looking at the colors of the clouds.
My mind went back through my day. My house was clean because I had taught my kids how to clean it along with their neighbor friends. My kids were tired because we had ridden bikes most of the day and then I'd taught them how to play Kick the Can in the evening. My laundry was going. That one basket full of car junk and house stuff had been cleaned out and put away. My kids had seen their father, a visit which counted both as service and as quality time because he has been suffering in the hospital for the last week. While we were there we had to find parking in a horrible lot and had success after I taught the children that they could pray for anything, including a parking spot. We'd had plenty to eat that day and wanted for no material goods. I'd listened to a great TED talk "Before I Die" by Candy Chang on community art and a General Conference talk about Deliverance earlier in the day on my earphones while I was working in the house. My carpools had taken both Mimi and Jude to and from school. I'd been in textual contact with my friends both near and far. My dad had called me and told me he thought I was doing a good job helping the people who needed me. I'd talked to some estranged distant family and made some headway in repairing those relationships.
By the time the sun had set I'd come to a realization: this was a day well lived. I'm happy. My kids are where they need to be and so am I. Nothing else is perfect but we are stable and content.
It was only about 8 and I had the rest of my evening planned: not one but two episodes of Breaking Bad and then working on my farfetched life-goal project that is taking up a significant amout of mental energy and really challenging my mind. To break that up I meandered through the lovely things on pinterest and scrolled through my friend's instagrams. And then I climbed in my cuddly bed with fresh sheets in my peaceful clean house and slept.
I've been thinking about trials recently. Sometimes it feels like trials never end and that you never quite get to that plateau of peace before the next one hits you even harder. These past few years for me have been trial after trial leaving me begging for a bit of peace. I've been coping with many losses and unresolved relationships and found myself swirling down into the abyss of despair -- wondering if life itself is, as Macbeth claims "A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing".
But even as chaos reigns and storms rage I look at my day to day life with great humility and gratitude. Just yesterday I learned that "In the midst of winter, I found there was, deep within me, an invincible summer" (Albert Camus). No matter how difficult things become I still wake up to a new day of taking care of my kids and navigating our world to the best of my ability.
And then at 10:30 pm there came a knock at my door. It was one of my sisters unexpectedly dropping off a loaf of warm homemade bread because "If I don't get rid of this I'm going to eat it all myself".
It was a day of service and tender mercies. A day too busy to dwell on the problems life presents. And it was a day that, normal as it was, I will never forget.