Ugh...it's been a rough afternoon with my little guy. In fact, it's been a rough couple of weeks. Apparently, my 2 year old does not believe he needs to get sleep. Most days he's up before 6 am, barely naps in the afternoon, falls asleep after 8 pm, and then wakes multiple times in the night. This makes for a cranky toddler (whom I call Crankasaurus Rex - feel free to steal this for the cranky person in your life) and it makes for a cranky Mommy (the Queen of Crankdom).
I'm sad to say that I've lost my patience with him quite a bit the last few weeks. I never wanted to be that mom. It's a vicious cycle: I promise myself to be calm, I'm still sleep deprived, my son hits or spits or beats on the door, and then I lose it again and again. It's an ugly cycle where Mommy beats herself up for not being a good Mommy.
Then our friend, Fr. Simon the Dominican, becomes a member of the family for a week - and we all got a vacation from "normal" life. We talked about prayer and theology and philosophy; all the things that a Divinity Diva loves! We talked quite a bit about contemplative prayer and then Fr. Simon flat out told me for the second time in as many months that I had to find time for listening to God. Actually, he said something along the lines, "You need to find time for you to shut up." Only a friend can say something like that.
So, I've made the time the last couple days for contemplative prayer. I pop in my earbuds and listen to white noise so that I can drown out the sounds of the house. Then, I sit for 10 minutes - not moving, not speaking, letting thoughts come and escorting them out the door. On the surface it seems like nothing is happening, but today proved differently.
Life was back to "normal" today. Our friend is back home, my husband was at work, and I had a cranky toddler. Today it dawned on me what was missing from the cycle I described above: God. This is my perpetual problem: I can do it myself. Over and over again reality has shown me: I stink by myself. Those few minutes of sitting in quiet have helped me immensely. I can't say I have Angelic Sweetness at this point, but I'm working on it.
Contemplative prayer has come and gone in my life. Since my son was born, it's mostly been gone. Today I see I need it like oxygen.