A friend of mine once equated the daily chores and responsibilities of motherhood as a liturgy of sorts. The Orthodox Liturgy has the same basic framework each week. But every week we commemorate a different saint, and sometimes we celebrate a feast day. Every day we also go through essentially the same routine... cooking, cleaning, caring for our children, etc. But some days have a different twist to them, perhaps a trip to the park or a visit from friends or family.
We participate in the Liturgy of the Church to worship God and to be joined to God through our partaking of the Holy Eucharist. In the same way, we can worship God and draw nearer to Him through our daily lives. But if our minds and hearts wander during the Liturgy, we may not receive the fullness of God's blessings. In the same way, we cannot expect to see the manifestation of a more compassionate world if we are not attentive in the liturgy of our life at home.
Compassion and communion with God and His Creation starts at home. And it is in this area where I must admit I fail the most. When I am impatient and unloving towards my children and my husband, how can I expect the world to look any different? Every thought or action has a ripple effect into the world. I am reminded of a children's book called "Because Brian Hugged His Mother." It's about how a series of positive events that spiraled from a little boy simply hugging his mother. I've never actually read the book, but I remember reading the description some years ago and thinking about how our actions have unseen results.
By sowing negativity into my family, I send forth a ripple of negativity into the world. If I, instead, sow gentleness and patience, this is what will flow forth from my family. If we wish to see a more compassionate world, we need to start at home. It is a daily struggle, with many ups and downs along the way. So, even on the most difficult days, when I fail in ways I'm ashamed to admit, I find solace in the words of a monk on Mt. Athos who, when asked what he does all day at the monastery, said, "We fall down, we get up." May God grant me the strength to continue to rise up again after every fall. So that I might sow seeds of compassion into my family that may bloom and shine their light upon the ailing world.