It’s there. Do you feel it? That weight of the world, the discontent swirling in the air, thick as fog? Maybe it is just the post-eclipse haze or the back-to-school rush, I don’t know. I do know that around here the world seems a little more out of control these days. People are on edge, including mama, and that makes family life all the more stressful.
As I was in the middle of an anointing service for a friend diagnosed with cancer, it struck me just how beautiful it is to be in a Church who makes God so tactile and tangible. God isn’t just “out there.” He is here. We can touch Him, hear His Word, taste Him in the Eucharist. We can sit with Him before the Blessed Sacrament. He is with us always, and when we are a little timid to approach Him, He gives us His mama to hold us tight and lead us right into His heart. The Church gives us a whole menu of comfort food in a time of chaos.
So why in the world do I forget these things when life is upside down and topsy-turvy? When the back-to-school list is longer than a litany and the social climate feels ready to explode, how do I remember to stop for a moment and be comforted? It is so important for me, especially with little ones at home who feed off of my emotions (and poke at them too). I need to be better at finding peace and staying calm to help them to do the same.
Here are my five goals for maintaining peace of heart (and of home):
This may not be your cup of tea, but for me, something inside opens up and is freed when I hear a favorite hymn or song and can belt it out. Having a rainy-day playlist to bring light into my soul can go a long way to defuse what threatens to be a ticking time bomb of mom rage.
These are quick little prayers that can be said out loud or muttered under my breath. I began saying a quick “Hail Mary, full of grace,” several years ago when my mom was visiting and pushing every button I had. It helped then and it helps now that the next generation of button-pushers has made their debut! Other quick prayers that work for me? “Lord, I need you;” “Jesus, I trust in You;” “Come, Holy Spirit;” and “Lord, have mercy!” Short, quick, and to the point!
One of my favorite things about the Catholic Church is the communion of saints – men and women who have walked before us and now walk with Jesus in the heavenly Kingdom. We are truly not alone in our battles. These holy men and women have walked the road before us. They offer us their prayer and their example. We have adopted family saints for each year – our own litany, so to speak. I need to adopt my personal litany, and call on the saints to accompany my children. As the school year begins, each of their classes is assigned a saint. I need to remember to call on them to help guide my children closer to Jesus and to walk with them when I cannot.
Quotes and Scripture Visually Displayed
You would think with the number of prints I make for customers that I would have a houseful of verses and quotes. Wrong! I have them scattered and strewn all about my “studio,” but ask me how much of my work I actually DO in there. (Hint: not a lot.) I’m usually all over the rest of the house.
As an artist and a lefty, I tend to be a very visual person. Having these reminders of favorite comfort scriptures and quotes that ground me (and adding some new favorite saints to our icon wall) can help to pull me back from the edge. It is hard to ignore the Word of God staring at you while muttering in the kitchen, or the face of St. Teresa of Calcutta telling you to be faithful and love in the small things, or St. Gianna reminding me that the present moment is everything.
Read the Psalms (and offer my own!)
I’ve been working on a new project for a fall product launch for my shop, and part of my preparation has included reading the Psalms – all of them – at once. I’ve loved the intimacy of the Psalms for quite some time, and they usually lead me to start humming or singing their hymn counterparts. What I didn’t fully appreciate until I began reading through them all at once is how repetitive they are. David isn’t shy about his praise, his lament, his pleas to destroy his enemies – he comes to God over and over and over . . . and over again!
Sometimes I feel silly coming in prayer with the same thing. I feel as though I don’t trust that God has heard me, or that repeated prayers reveal my unbelief. David in the Psalms reminds me that God wants that kind of intimacy; He wants to hear our pleas and our lamenting. Whether it’s begging Him to smite our frenemy (hopefully not that, though), or whether it is rejoicing that He has delivered me from an empty coffeepot, God wants to hear us. He wants to pour out His mercy on us in our time of sorrow and defeat. He wants to jump up and down in giddy joy at times of celebration. He is a Father who wants to deliver us, to give us peace, and to offer us comfort, but we have to open ourselves and ask.
What’s your go-to when things reach the point of ultimate chaos? How do you maintain your peace and pass it on to your children?
Copyright 2017 Rakhi McCormick