Often I find that when my head at last hits my pillow at night, my brain becomes most active.
Finally, all is quiet and still.
I can hear the dim hum of the fan near my daughter’s bed.
My son tosses about, occasionally hitting the wall with a leg or an arm.
I hear the deep and steady breathing of my husband.
As my eyes adjust to the darkness, I can see the trees out of our large windows, glisten in the moonlight and the occasional headlights bouncing along as a car drives by. And I think and reflect and make plans (oh, the plans!) for the next day, or week or whatever. Usually these have to do with things I want to do better. Tomorrow, I will wake up earlier and do such and such before the kids wake up. or I will work out or I will show more patience. This dialogue can go on for quite some time, mixed with prayers and attempts to process life. I run circles in my head of the same thoughts again and again and again, as if I can somehow will them into reality.
Then I drift off to sleep.
And the next night, I wonder where all my ambitions went and I begin the same loop of thoughts as the previous night, hoping something will stick this time – longing for a change to this rhythm and a new drive to keep it alive.
Rhythm and drive.
These two words bring the humble image of a monastery to mind.
My husband and I have always been drawn to the ways of the monks and christian mystics, who live their lives to a certain cadence. They stop what they are doing to pray at certain times, to bring themselves back into awareness of communion with God and each other. They have an intentional rhythm in their life, and they keep to it, because they see the importance of it. They are driven by their love for and devotion to God.
Our family has started to practice this in a few ways on a seasonal basis, like observing certain traditions such as Lent and Advent. Lent was really a groundbreaking thing for us to do as a family last year, and we have been looking forward to it again this coming year. I imagine I will be posting on this soon, because it truly was a huge catalyst for change in our lives.
Those traditions happen only once or twice a year for us. Afterward, we find ourselves in a “high”, excited and determined to remain in this new rhythm. Soon, however, this excitement wanes, and we are back to our old busy and self-centered habits. This is the very reason for these traditions; we need something to physically change in our lives in order to be brought back into a better rhythm.
I am left wondering.
Is it possible to keep this connection in the “every day”, before losing sight of what is important? Before I end up in a different rhythm, one defined by reactions and defeat and praying the same thoughts about changing the same things every single night?
I have many thoughts on this, which I will share soon. One practical thing I am challenging myself to begin doing is having a regular “quiet time” each day.
My children already have this as a regular daily routine. My 16 month old daughter naps for 2 – 3 hours and my son takes at least a 45 minute rest time (most days it is longer) after lunch. They do not always want to do this, but I know they need it and so, it happens. What do I do in this most sacred of times during a mother’s day? It varies from day to day. Some times I work out, other days I write, do housework, sew for my shop, or mindlessly waste time on the internet. There is no real rhyme or reason to it. Then I ask myself at the end of the day, Why am I so exhausted? How did I not find any time to be still? To breathe, to reflect, to pray, to re-connect? How much better would my day have gone if I had? How much better would their day gone if I had?
I need this. My bones are crying out for it.
It is important for my children to rest midday because they are young and need more rest for their developing bodies. I also hope to instill in them the value of slowing down and resting each day, so that they may choose to make this a habit as adults.
Because who have we ever met who does not seem to be asking for more rest and peace and quiet, whether their words or only their eyes speak of it?
So. I am going to start joining my children in their “rest time”, for at least 15 minutes before I even think about the mound of other things I want to accomplish.
I just keep reminding myself that those things will still be there once I have caught my breath.