When we finally stop the hurrying, the busyness, and put the to-do list down, we have the space for love and affection.
While this can be difficult for us in every stage of life, Scripture seems to indicate that the young wife must be taught how to go about it (Titus 2:4 "and so train the young women to love their husbands and children," noting that many translate this mention of love as the "affectionate" love). Why? Does it not come naturally? Perhaps, but while I may not exactly count as the "young wife" anymore (!), I know it is still easy for me to get so caught up in the loving care of my children that I often don't leave time or energy for that affectionate love. A Sabbath Sensibility, finding a rhythm of rest and work, gives the needed time and energy for affection. And so, what better moment then the Lord's Day for us all, not just the "young mother," to learn the lessons of Charity:
"Is [the living room] not a picture in ordinary terms of what families are all about; namely, that these few people, thrust together and bound by the odd ties of flesh and blood, are given the chance to begin to learn the one big lesson that all men are given to learn--the lessons of Charity? That is, we were made for love, we are commanded to love, and since it doesn't come naturally to us, we have to learn to love. The family situation is, as it were, the elementary schoolroom where we start learning in small, easy, and natural ways to love--that is, to discover that self-giving, freedom, and joy are all one thing" (Splendor in the Ordinary, p. 47)
As we bask in self-giving, freedom, and joy are souls expand, bringing life and peace.
"All the loving attentiveness [the parent] gives [their] children is food for their souls. When the child is a small baby, all those smiles and kind words, the laughing and playfulness, and the [parental] delight and pride in each new accomplishment is used by God to prosper the baby's soul. And it continues as the child grows. Even the smallest gesture, if done in love and kindness, is nourishing. We want our children to have fat little souls, to be healthy plants, as in Psalm 144:12: "that our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth."...We cannot think that a prayer at bedtime and reading a Bible story to them occasionally will counteract the damage done day in and day out by the foul air the children breathe in the home day after day all year long...By the grace of God, [parents] can provide peaceful and joyful feasts which nourish both body and soul. Listening to your children, taking them on your lap and talking with them, and being affectionate and loving to them will of course take time. Just as preparing and serving good food takes time, so feeding our children's souls take time...We cannot see how reading this story one more time will be like a second helping of mashed potatoes but it is. God uses all these things we do, when we render them unto Him by faith, to strengthen, nourish, and grow our children up into men and women with fat souls..." (Building Her House, p. 62-63).
*These pictures were taken by Amy on a Sabbath Day in September 2009.