I meditate with a 9-year-old boy in the room. Seriously. It may sound crazy, but it’s for real.
Before I was a mom, I had a fairly regular prayer and devotion practice. I went to great lengths to create a special corner in my home that would be peaceful and supportive of my practice. I scheduled my day around my prayer time, knowing how important it was that I not miss it. And on the days when my schedule was out of my control or my then-husband was noisy, I got really irritated. How dare they (the event, or the person, or life in general) interrupt my prayer time! This is sacred!
And then I gave birth. And got divorced. And started taking care of my mom. And – well – you know how life goes. Just when you think you’ve grown up and got everything under control, the bottom drops out. Because having everything under control was always just an illusion anyway.
In the midst of all that life has become, still I have my prayer practice. It has morphed and shifted and come to include more silence than reading or journalling or talking to God. But still I make time to sit and pray. Every day. Sometimes twice a day, if it’s been a rough one.
I still have a prayer corner, though in our latest house it’s pretty cramped. But there’s room for me and my prayer mat and my candle stand. And that is enough.
And in this stage of my life, my house is rarely silent. I live with a 9-year-old boy who loves Legos that crash, Nerf weapons that fire, and Star Wars vehicles that zoom. He knows that noise disturbs me when I’m praying, and so he tip-toes around me to get to the bathroom, losing his balance on the way, grabbing the door to keep from falling, and banging it against the wall. Quiet is a distant memory. But I have found quiet within me. And that is enough.
On the days when my mind can’t seem to settle down and my meditative prayer is more effort than ease, now I know not to get irritated at the boy I live with or the ministry activities that edge into my personal time. Because I’ve learned it’s not them – it’s me. I can choose to let go of my expectations of perfect prayer and just let go, experiencing whatever the silence has in store for me that day. And it’s in the letting go that I discover I’m being held – held by the One I was seeking through the silence. Thanks be to God.