Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Blanket of Peace

The retreat starts tomorrow. Today found me setting up down at the Hermitages, cooking and baking in the kitchen, and trying to get laundry/housekeeping done before I leave.

Oh, and, since my mom is also coming to the retreat, and staying with us for a few days afterwards, I had to find some time to clean, organize and prepare the guest room.

Did I mention that I also (foolishly) scheduled a playdate at our house for this afternoon?

So, you can imagine that by 3:20 pm, with an oven full of chicken, potatoes, and pie, a batch of brownies and cookies waiting for some cooking space, a half-clean guest room, uncleaned bathrooms, unvacuumed floors, and half-done laundry, I was feeling a bit, shall we say, stressed.

But, you see, I am learning.

It's taking a while, but I am learning.

I looked at the clock, figured I had about 5 minutes before the knock at the door, and told the kids, "Mom needs to go upstairs and pray. Please be quiet, and let your friends in when they get here."

I went upstairs, took a few deep breaths, made the sign of the cross and began. "Oh God, come to my assistance. Oh Lord, make haste to help me."

A pause in my prayer to scream like a banshee, "Can you PLEASE stop screaming like banshees? I am trying to pray!"

Another deep breath. "Oh God, come to my assistance. Oh Lord, make haste to help me." Before I got through the first psalm, I heard the knock at the door. The screaming intensified as six children who'd last seen each other a lifetime ago (or ten days... it's all the same when you're 8 and under) reunited. I heard Princess say in the most maternal of voices, "Shhh. My mom is trying to pray. We need to keep our voices down." I chuckled and continued praying, knowing that my dear friend would understand.

As I started into the second antiphon and psalm, I felt this peace envelope me. It was visceral. There was a blanket wrapping itself around me, and the calm was soaking into my bones in the same physical way that I experience the warmth of an afghan wrapped around my shoulders on a cool night. I took another deep breath and continued on.

Ten minutes later, I made the sign of the cross, put my book back on the nightstand, and walked downstairs. The to-do list was still there. The banshees had not been silenced. But, I was calmer. Still tense, still overwhelmed, but noticeably (to me, at least) calmer.

After dinner, when the remaining items on the list once again threatened to raise my stress level from orange to red, I paused once more for prayer. As before, the blanket of peace enveloped me. I sat in the twilight in my bedroom, soaking in the only true peace... the Lord's peace... and then tackled the rest of my to-do list.

And hey... even had time to blog about it. Go, God!

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