Welcome to my chaos, Jesus

It’s been a difficult winter season here. No getting around that. And I’m not just talking about the cold and the snowfall. In some ways, that has added some beauty to the landscape, and frankly, the excuse to cocoon a bit. Just a bit, because I’ve been out straight as they say. To compensate I’ve have to let go of a few things in order to embrace whatever fire is burning in front of me. To that end, I’ve missed writing and working consistently, I’ve missed getting together with friends or experiencing restful downtimes, I’ve missed podcasting, I’ve missed walking, and I’ve missed what I call balance-in-my-life. Even my prayer life — the anchor of each day — has been getting shifted into new times and forms, though that’s not always a bad thing.

My heart has been broken over sadnesses within my family, my friends’ lives, and mounting pressures — some unavoidable and some self-inflicted. Thank God for the menopausal crying jags… they cleanse me when I least expect them! If you know me, you can laugh at that last thing. Being a woman is still a wonderful thing — and it’s a wonder that I can recognize this new me on some days! Haha!

I’m not griping or ranting as if I’m looking for pity or for sympathies. I’m just a beggar who knows where her bread comes from, and I’ve written about in my latest over at Patheos. I had one of those Jesus moments that I’ve been mulling over for quite some time.

Here’s some of that…

All I wanted was a minute’s peace.

No, that’s not accurate. All I wanted was world peace, or something akin in my own little corner of it. At the very least, I wanted the noise in the church to go away. I wanted peace and quiet and escape from all that burdened me.

The Christmas season was ebbing away. I closed my eyes to pray after communion at Mass, to adore the Presence of Jesus in that moment. I attempted to pour out my heart, to break free from my troubles, to lean in and let him restore me with his holy food.

Instead I was remarkably distracted.

Normally, in prayer, I can tune out what’s around me. This day my concentration proved inadequate to the distractions.

The church seemed chaotic. I could not escape the scratchy shuffling of communicants in line to receive. After a New England snowfall, the “snowmelt”—salt and sand that sticks to the bottom of shoes—makes a scraping, gritty contact with the floor tiles in our church.

It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Even the music distracted me; the cantor, Lord have mercy,was out of sync with the hymn.

Oh geez, I know I am pitiful as I nitpick others—after communion, no less! Lord have mercy… on me.

There’s the distinctive cry of a newborn baby, and a new momma trying all she can to console, to no avail. She’ll figure it out soon enough. She needs to be here as much as we need her to be here with her little one. And their small chaos jolts me back to where I am.

I refocus, this time on the other baby within my line of sight—the Babe in the manger—in all his poverty and humility; Jesus born into our chaos.

 Read it all. 


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2 comments on “Welcome to my chaos, Jesus

  1. Nan Balfour says:

    Pat, I am reading a book recommended by my new spiritual director,Fr. Nathan (remember him from the conference?) called He Leadeth Me by Fr. Walter Ciszek. Fr. Ciszek who spent two decades in Russian prisons would say that all that you experienced was willed by God for your good. He wanted you to be distracted by all that around you. This insight has given me a whole new perspective on how to view every moment. Fr. Ciszek said that of course these moments of consolation are quickly followed by us forgetting them but that is human. Just praise God and keep going! Great book. I highly recommend it.

    1. Pat says:

      Thanks, Nan, I’ve been doing a lot of reading from the Carmelites, and its all about the Divine Will. I alluded to that at the bottom of the piece, but did not break it open as that would have added another 1000 words! Ha! I share so much with my readers/audience about all the good things in the spiritual life, and sometimes people think I’m bulletproof. Of course, none of us are, and I’m certainly not. I’m not desolate, as I know that all things pass through God’s perfect and permissive will. That’s why I love that prayer by Sr Carmela at the end. It’s a holy yes, holy patience for all things great and small, good and bad. I appreciate the book recommendation very much!

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