This week I was commiserating with another mother of a young child, and we were both noting how hard parenting can be at times. She confided that sometimes, when things are particularly crazy, she just sings about it. That morning, she found herself singing, “This morning is insane!” Although she was complaining, somehow singing about it made her loosen up and feel better about the whole thing.
Her tip reminded me of one of the collects from Mepkin Abbey. At midday prayer one day, one of the collects was a petition asking God to renew our sense of purpose and use the rest of the day for good. I remember thinking how full of grace that collect was – like a spiritual “do over.” I remember thinking that whatever I had accomplished (or not accomplished) in the morning did not have to affect how the rest of the day took shape. At that moment, in that prayer, I found a new sense of freedom – as if I was given permission to not have to wait until tomorrow to start over, but to start over right then and there.
Sometimes I think we could all stand to give ourselves a spiritual “do over.” Instead of beating ourselves up for our failures, or wallowing in a bad mood because of something someone else said or did to us, we can turn it all over to God and simply start again. Truthfully, I imagine God is a bit amused by our inability to give ourselves “do overs.” Our God is a God marked by abundant love, forgiveness, and grace. Our God is all about the “do over.” When we forget that, our image of God then becomes a cold, calculating, scorekeeping God. That is not the God we know. Instead, our God is a God who is continually welcoming us into God’s arms. I am reminded of Jesus’ words, as he lamented over Jerusalem, “How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” Mt. 23.37
Perhaps this week, we might consider how we might allow Jesus to gather us under his wing, to start again living into God’s graciousness instead of wallowing in our own sense of failure or frustration. Whether at the end of the day, in the middle of the day, or even after breakfast, the “do over” is available at all times from the God who longs to gather us.