Typically, it’s the quiet, reflective, “holy” ones who write about the beauty of contemplation and long silent prayer with the Lord.
The problem is, I’m not one of those types. Honestly, I’ll rarely have the luxury of days on end, alone & quiet. Nor do I hardly want that.
My life is chaotic. I have 4 little boys under my care who are constantly banging and sliding around the house. Someone is always needs something, and I can hardly finish with one, before another is tugging at my sleeve. Sometimes they’re sweet and patient, but most of the time they’re so doggone insistent – and LOUD. Even my should-be private moments in the restroom (pun intended) are interrupted.
Ministry is busy too, hectic, overwhelming… With the heavy reality of “living on faith,” we worry how we’ll pay staff salaries next month. The community has its tensions, misunderstandings and needs. The girls from the streets, who now know & trust us, occasionally lash out in anger; we’re a safe harbor to unleash their pain. And then there are those cultural annoyances that are still present after all these years – just gnawing at me beneath the surface.
Apart from my physical reality – my mind is constantly spinning. I awake reviewing my long list of duties for the day (and it’s typically much fuller than any one person can ever accomplish). And then that begins another downhill spiral of just how inadequate I feel. If only I were more organized, more focused…. Why can’t I be like Ms. Betty Crocker next door who bakes those sweet cakes for the elderly, has the freshest linens and still manages to tend to her children with such a pleasant smile? I know I’ll never be that woman – and yet I constantly live in her shadow.
My world whirls all around me, inside and outside my head, and I can never seem to catch up. I often feel like the croc in the tale of Peter Pan, whose clock is constantly ticking and giving himself away.
Someday, I hope to be a wise old woman, who in her stillness just nods and smiles at all of us crazy young ones trying to hold & conquer the world. Who do we think we are? What are we trying to prove?
Today I awoke, immediately reviewing ideas in my head and at the same time feeling how desperately I need some peace & quiet (and the kids weren’t even awake yet!). This Holiday season has overtaken me, again. How do I let this happen every year?
So with my husband’s grace, I trudge up to our dusty prayer room and close the door. Take a deep breath, let myself pull away from the tantrums unfolding below. As I slowly light candles and watch the incense encircle the room, my body and spirit relax.
“You are my Beloved. And that’s enough.” And the tears roll down my face.
Oh how I need that Truth to seep deep within me. I need to absorb it. Cognitively I know that when I run in circles, I don’t hear that still small voice. The “intense extrovert” in me prides itself in all that I do, but my productivity is in vain. I need the Deep to call to me and whisper, “Draw near. Be still.”
And as I let the quiet renew me, the guilt and shame slowly wash away.
By Andrea Baker