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I realized recently how many things I have forgotten: What it’s like to flush a toilet… how I never used to hear that sleepy breathing of our children as I crawled into my own bed… that everything begins at home… how I could pull the first string that could be the unraveling of my own children.

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It’s funny to watch them pitch hay and milk goats and wash clothes without a washing machine and realize that they are learning how to do these things at the exact same time as their mother. And they watch me while we do those things – my actions, my words, my attitude – and it terrifies me and it awakens me.

I wonder where I’d be if I didn’t have children. Not in the sense that they are my identity, but that they have been a means of showing me the deepest depths of my own depravity. I suppose if it weren’t them then it’d be something else… but it has to be them and it had to be them because here we all are.

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I have been in need of quiet for some time now. Not from these little ones around me, though that is sometimes welcome, but rather from my own lips and thoughts. So I have tried to pull back here and elsewhere to be still and listen to things like this:

“Conversion is not the smooth, easy-going process some men seem to think… It is wounding work, this breaking of the hearts, but without wounding there is no saving… Where there is grafting there will always be a cutting, the graft must be let in with a wound; to stick it onto the outside or to tie it on with a string would be of no use. Heart must be set to heart and back to back or there will be no sap from root to branch. And this, I say, must be done by a wound, by a cut.”
― John Bunyan

These are the days that shape us all.