I feel like this poor cat, swinging at the end of a frayed rope at the close of this week. It's been a frantic week, peace far beyond my clawing grasp.
The few deep breaths, the scarce moments of meditation this week have accompanied ashes and liturgy, silent supplication and the whisper of worn prayer book pages turned, the haze of vanilla candle.
But most of this week has been rush, rush -- of mind and heart as well as typing fingers and restless limbs. Words bustle, muddle together as they flew from my tongue, ungentle.
This morning we hurried out of the house, two boys burdened by school books and electric guitars, into my ancient Corolla, and rushed down the hill, sliding into chairs at Victoria House barely in time for Morning Prayer. Trying to calm heart, breath, and spirit as Psalm 95 pours through me:
Psalm 95. Venite, exultemus.I grope in the dark despite the morning light glowing through the cloudy skies, through the eastern windows. My too-short window of peace evaporated all too speedily, as Morning Prayer and Holy Communion do every Friday morning. By the time we reach the final blessing, I feel a heaviness on my soul, a weight, a burden, as I assume myself again and leave sanctuary to return to the world.
1 O COME, let us sing unto the LORD; * let us heartily rejoice in the strength of our salvation.
2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving; * and show ourselves glad in him with psalms.
3 For the LORD is a great God; * and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are all the corners of the earth; * and the strength of the hills is his also.
5 The sea is his, and he made it; * and his hands prepared the dry land.
6 O come, let us worship and fall down, * and kneel before the LORD our Maker.
7 For he is the Lord our God; * and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
8 To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts * as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness;
9 When your fathers tempted me, * proved me, and saw my works.
10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, * It is a people that do err in their hearts, for they have not known my ways:
11 Unto whom I sware in my wrath, * that they should not enter into my rest.
Each morning I pull open the window shade over our bed, peer over purpling mountains, Cuyamaca Cypresses, and the wide meadow glowing in mellow morning light before turning to my prayer corner. The heft of the prayer book in my hand, the morning quiet, the mind calming under influence of Spirit -- all create a short-lived miniature sanctuary before the whirl of each day starts.
Then to the computer where work lurks -- lessons to post, students to encourage, breakfast to gulp between e-mails, then Morning Prayer with the kids melding into church history, poetry, vocabulary, and literature. While the boys start their copywork, penmanship, and math, I try to escape to the stationary bike to exercise, vainly attempting to pedal away stress. Then back to the school table for math, spelling, grammar, phonics, reading, science, German, more spelling, more math, more German, and the faint strumming of J's guitar behind closed doors just before lunch.
The church bells of my cell chime, the boys' signal to start lunch, mine to climb stairs to return to prayer corner for Midday Prayer and, if time, Anglican prayer beads. Too soon the mayhem on the TV screen of Jedis defeating enemies fades as boys return to the school table for American History ... Andrew Jackson's presidency, the Industrial Revolution. Questions follow and are answered, and one child finishes while two others push on through sciences, geography, reading, health, writing.
Between and among lessons I continue to teach my online class, cajoling and encouraging in haiku and tanka. And then e-mails bounce into my inbox demanding my attention -- art council, community garden, prayer requests, work needs, co-op student questions ... answered and prayed and updated and saved and marked and dealt with.
And stress builds as energy wanes, afternoon wearing on and naptime ever beckoning. I dream of flannel pillowcases, sheets, and duvet cover, warmth personified and oh-so-necessary as winter temperatures plummet with the disappearing sun, winking in western windows.
In the rare moments of peace, pen finds hand and poems flow, words spilling forth, birthing images and phrases. Creativity must burst forth, on paper and here in this little square space, presented before all the world to see.
Weekend doesn't look to hold peace at this point with deadlines looming, one class finishing and another beginning in the next week, and papers to be graded piling up and demanding attention. Sleep is needed -- and rest --in light of chiropractor's scolding today whose first words were to rest. Perhaps two weeks from Saturday. Yes, I think I may be able to rest then -- a definite possibility.