THEN ENTER MY TODAY:
2 a.m., turned in for bed
3 a.m., let child #4 (“I had a nightmare”) into the middle
6:30 a.m., showered
7:15 a.m., out the door with four grouchy kids
7:45 a.m., met friend to go walking
9 a.m., home for a moment, then back out the door to mothers’ group
11:15, home again for lunch, bed-making and cat poop pick-up (as well as wiping off child number five’s feet from when he stepped in it…oops!)
1:30 p.m., off to school with box of clothes to donate, faith-sharing group
3 p.m., grab kids and head to doctor for missed kindergarten shots and well-child checkup
4:45 p.m., frazzled from being in cramped quarters with 3-year-old, make stop through McDonald’s for after-immunizations “you were brave” treat
5:15 p.m., pick up child number three from dance class
5:30 p.m., head to park to watch oldest child play tennis
7 p.m., back home, dinner preparation
9:30 p.m., kids finally settling down…throwing in a load of laundry, online grocery shopping, researching, email catching-up…which brings me to now.
Okay, so it might seem a bit ridiculous to do an hourly report, but all to make the point: it’s time to revisit two months back, when I was fully immersed in a writing residency at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Minnesota. All summer long prior to leaving for this opportunity, as I pried apart bickering siblings and worked overtime to keep the high drama of our bunch at a reasonable level, I dreamed of the moment I would step out of that world to hang out with the nuns and write/revise for a solid week. The thought allowed me to live through the summertime blues without feeling too daunted. And when the day of departure/arrival did come, I surprised myself somewhat by turning into a hermit, working furiously into the late hours and coming up for air only for meals and bi-daily prayer time. Eventually, a larger dose of air would be required, and I would walk the grounds with one of the other scholars or sit on the bench near the goldfish pond just beyond the chapel. I would look around at all the flowers, listen to the quiet, watch squirrels scampering about, feel the air caressing my face and take in the shimmer of the early-evening sunlight on nearby trees, completely in awe and at rest.
Now, with fall in full swing and my brief utopian interlude vanished, I need those visuals again to remember what it’s like when life comes to a standstill and everything seems possible and pleasant. It might not be realistic to believe one could live this kind of serene life day in and day out, but it’s an image I gladly will draw upon and recall as often as necessary to remind myself that, indeed, peace will come again.