Wednesday, Mar 4
For the past sixteen years, roughly, I have been drinking one, two, sometimes three cups of coffee each morning. With each child that the good Lord has added to our brood, the coffee has become more and more important. I have never even considered giving coffee up for Lent. Why would I do such a thing to the ones I love? In more recent years, I have even re-started my day by brewing a small pot of coffee around 2:00 each afternoon. I suppose I like the idea of waking up from my daily nap time and giving myself a little jolt to move into the school pick up and evening portion of my day. As sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, Mary drinks coffee every day.
Regrettably, daily prayer is not regarded with as much importance as coffee in my daily routine. Just typing that sentence makes me sad and a little embarrassed. I know better. And I regard myself as someone who wants a life that has daily prayer at its center.
But, the truth is, prayer hasn’t been the center of my life. Not for awhile.
Rather than delve into why or how or when this all came to be, I’d rather focus on what’s happening now.
A couple of days into Lent, I found myself clicking around on several different blogs. Before I knew it, I found myself on the Blessed Is She website. There I found a lovely advertisement for a Lenten Retreat in the form of a notebook. Purchase. Download. Print. Hole punch. Fill binder. Pray. It was that simple. And now, fifteen days into my Lenten journey, I find myself jumping, nay, leaping out of bed each morning at 5:45, filling my cup with coffee, creamer and sugar, and filling my soul with time well spent with Our Lord.
But it’s not really that simple, is it? No. I know myself and I know my family. So here are some of the things I’m doing to protect the sacred time I spend with my Lord.
1. Make sure the coffee pot is set to brew BEFORE I wake up, so that when my smart phone alarm plays woodland noises at 5:45am, Monday through Saturday, my nose immediately smells the brewed beans.
2. A warm, cozy sweatshirt or robe and a pair of warm slippers or socks really helps to ward off the dark early winter morning blahs.
3. Coffee, and if I’m hungry, a little bit of fruit or toast so that I’m not distracted by my stomach.
4. Pandora playing classical music or something mellow and instrumental, to drown out the noise of waking children.
5. A sign taped to the French doors that lead into the office where I pray. Behold, the absolutely essential and necessary tool to keeping little ones at bay in the early morning hours when they should still be upstairs and in their rooms…
I was going to put “BOOM!” underneath “Thank You,” but I thought that was a little much. The reason why this sign is so important is because it eliminates any uncomfortable/uncharitable exchange while praying. I know you know what I’m talking about. The “talk to the hand” gesture while meditating on the Gospel of the day isn’t exactly the message we want to send to our children. “Sorry, honey! Mommy doesn’t want to have anything to do with the likes of you while she’s growing in holiness! Get away from here before I destroy you with my stink eye!” If/when a child comes downstairs too early, he/she will see the sign and know, whatever hunger pangs they’re feeling, whatever pressing need that cannot wait, well, can wait! Mom cannot start her day without coffee. Mom cannot do her job without prayer. That is all.
6. Laudete app up on the smart phone, read today’s readings.
7. Open my binder and read today’s word that prompts me to prayer and meditation.
8. Write, pray, write, pray some more.
Then and only then do I allow myself to check email, go on Facebook, etc. Okay, sometimes I break my own rule and get the quick News Feed update. And maybe I peruse my inbox. I absolutely check my local news’ website for school closings. And if it’s another “Snow Day,” I spend my entire prayer time begging the Sweet Lord in Heaven above for patience and unconditional love for my children.
The point is, I need this. A wise young priest recently said to me in confession, “You can’t expect The Daily Offering, which your children pray daily at school, to be enough for you, a wife and mother of five. You need more than that to do the job you are asked to do each day.” But there’s more to it than what I need, and that’s what I desire. I desire closeness with our Lord. And the only way to get that is through time set aside for Him and for me to talk. Lately, I’m doing a ton of talking. And then, every once in awhile, when I shut my mouth and listen, He speaks.
I refuse to let anything disturb me from my time with my Creator and Lord. When I do what’s necessary to block out all the distractions of my state in life, and I make time to be with The King of the Universe, good things happen. So why wouldn’t I?
I’m sad that I have let so many months and months go by without prayer. I sure hope I keep up this commitment I’ve made to make prayer time in the morning as big of a priority as coffee because it goes without saying, it’s infinitely more important.