[AREWP stands for “A Reckless Experiment With Prayer.” This is part of an ongoing series about bringing peace to my daily life. You can read the other posts on this subject here (scroll down).]
[NOTE: I updated yesterday’s Day 1 to share how it all played out.]
I am exhausted.
For the past two nights the baby hasn’t slept well because of a cold and general gassiness, each night leaving me with about four or five (nonconsecutive) hours of sleep. My husband has some serious things going on at work so that he can’t help me at night right now, and I can’t nap during the day since the baby rarely sleeps when the older kids sleep.
As often happens when you’re extremely tired, everything has seemed more difficult these past two days. Even the smallest tasks are thwarted, like when I was trying to put some pots back in the cabinets only to see that my one-year-old had decided that her spoon would make a good scepter and was flinging applesauce all over the kitchen; or when in the short time it took me to pour food into the cat’s bowl the kids had discovered the laundry basket full of folded clothes and had a quarter of its contents scattered across the floor. Even more than usual, I feel like I cannot turn my back for two seconds without chaos breaking out.
I’ve had days like this before, and it almost always plays out the same way: my frustration level builds and builds as the day wears on, my mantra alternating between “Why is everything so difficult?!” and “I can never get anything done around here!”, until the crescendo when I call my husband at work to vent in his general direction, after which I just give up and wallow in self pity until he gets home.
But that’s not what happened this time.
Because of my commitment to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, every few hours I have been forced to stop everything, to snap out of my mental downward spiral, and pray. Reading the ancient Psalms, often anguished cries to God in times of great upheaval and tragedy, reminds me of how very small my troubles are in the grand scheme of things. The excerpts from the Gospels remind me to be hopeful in knowledge of the greatest events that ever happened, Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. And simply pulling myself out of the daily grind, setting it all aside to rest in God’s words, reminds me that nothing that is on my agenda for today, none of the items on my to-do list — not even the ones with asterisks by them — really matter.
As I zip open the leather cover of my prayer book, as I flip the delicate pages to look for the ribbon that marks this hour’s prayers, I am reminded that I can relax, I can let go of my worry over all the things I wanted to accomplish this day. Because there is only one truly important item on my to-do list today, the same as every day: to know, love and serve God.
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