613. Number of ancient Jewish laws.
613. Almost the number of rules in our home when the kids were little.
61. Probably the number of different “Family Laws” based on said rules along with kids’ ages and stages.
All of this an effort to keep track of what really mattered and didn’t, what should be disciplined and what should be praised.
But mostly just a desperate attempt to manage the chaos that seemed to be a natural part of raising a family.
One not-so-glorious day, having reached the end of my mom rope, I screamed these words in exasperation:
“JUST TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND YOUR STUFF!!!”
If the not-so-glorious scene had been made into a comic strip for the Sunday paper, a glowing “light bulb” would have hovered just over my red face and red head.
Boxes in my brain were immediately checked for compliance:
- Brush teeth (SELF)
- Put gas in the car (STUFF)
- Do NOT eat 17 cookies (SELF)
- Do homework (STUFF)
- No wet towels on the floor (STUFF)
- Go to bed (SELF)
- Get a job (BOTH). – YES. Get a job!
A new “Family Law” was imposed, one that didn’t take hours of preparation, spreadsheets and doctorates. The old charts were wadded up and saved as fire starters!
“TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND YOUR STUFF!”
Everything in our OUTER lives is managed by this sweet, simple phrase, no matter how old we are, whether we are a male or female, who we live with, what dreams we have, or what our personalities are like.
(You could play a little game and see if you can find any that don’t if you really want to. Comment if you come up with one.)
It’s the same for me and for you, our child or our parents, our spouse or our friend, our pastor or our barista at the local coffee shop.
But what about our INNER lives? What about cooperation, kindness, generosity, respect, compassion, thankfulness, forgiveness, patience, etc., the deeper issues of the heart?
Do they land in those two columns of “self” and “stuff”?
The wisest human (not me) who ever lived emphatically says, “yes.”
In fact, he reminds us that “taking care of our self and our stuff” begins with our INNER life.
Cultivating the matters of our hearts is the best care we can take of our “selves.”
Tending to our souls is the best care we can take of our “stuff.”
His words, not mine:
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)
P.S. I need a new toothbrush!