Breezes whispered through the weeds which grew taller than my head, hiding me in the space between their height and the waves lapping the rocks on the shore of the lake. Whispering weeds and lapping waves were the only sound I heard for a glorious ten minutes, until my children's voices rose above the sounds of nature as they compared the distance that their rocks skipped along the water. And with that, I was brought back from my peaceful reverie to the reality of constant noise and worry that is my life.
It didn't take long for the jolt from that noise to bring about the ever present irritation that seems to underlie my emotions these days. I am wanting a long quiet break from my life. I need an escape, if only for a full 24 hours, to forget who I am and who I always wanted to be.
In my senior year of high school, just as I was preparing to leave home for college in the big city, I panicked about the life choice I had made and did some serious backpedaling. I wondered what had ever made me choose to go to college when all I ever wanted was to be a wife and mother. I confessed my fears to my sisters, who quickly set me straight. They reminded me that the guy I was dating at the time was not decent husband material (they were very right), and until I met the man of my dreams, I would need to support myself somehow. They also reminded me that they would be with me in my new hometown and would always watch out for me (which they still do). They convinced me that I would be fine and they were right.
Now, I look back on that conversation recalling my words in which I professed the vocation to which I felt called- "wife and mother". God did lead me to the man of my dreams, a wholesome and decent man and He blessed us with five wonderful children. For the past 18 years, I have been living my dream. But every now and then, it doesn't feel quite so dreamy. Every now and then, I am overcome with exhaustion and a burn out bordering on despair. I feel trapped and alone in my life. Guilt piles upon my shoulders when I read books and blogs from other mothers who profess great joy in their vocations. Why is it that I'm not feeling that joy?
As I'm lost in worry about my lack of joy, my oldest son walks in the door, home from his behind-the-wheel driving lesson. He tells me that the instructor was texting the entire time that he was driving. This comes on the heels of a gory you-tube video circulating on the internet about the dangers of texting and driving. I do my best to restrain myself from immediately calling the driving school and giving them a piece of my mind. I decide to call a friend and vent instead, but she's not home. Before I can make any other decisions, my other two teenage sons start yelling upstairs. The eternal referee (that's me) goes upstairs to check out the fracas. It seems there is some disagreement about a Facebook girlfriend. There are times I wish I was blind, and this was one of them, because when I looked at her picture on the computer screen, I saw a Pamela Sue Anderson wanna-be, you know, string bikini with gigantic fake breasts falling out of the top, and her comment to my son was "You're so hot!"
"This is your girlfriend?" I hear myself scream. I know it is not her real picture, for Pete's sake, she is only 13 years old, but I kick my son out of the chair and rail off a comment to her quick as can be. "Listen Girly, it's pictures like these that get girls in trouble! Does your mother know you have this picture on your page? If you want to know my son, you come on over for dinner, or better yet, come to Mass with us!" I quickly hit the send button before the boys could stop me. I've seen far too many pregnant 13 and 14 year old girls at work and I am not at all ready to enter the stage of grandmother just yet.
Then the decompression sets in. The voice of my conscience (or was it really the voice of evil) starts to whisper in my ear, "Serves you right! Remember the old slogan 'What goes around comes around,' you weren't exactly the poster girl for pristine teenagers yourself! You gave your parents plenty of heartache. You've been getting off far too easily with your happy, holy children. It's time you start to get a taste of real worry and pain."
So that's where my joy went. It was swallowed up by worry. Now I need something to swallow that worry. The only antidote is God. But, my household is so loud, so cramped and so often overwhelming that it can be hard to find God here. I had a little taste of Him this morning on the beach, but I need so much more than that!
Oh Lord, take me away, if only for a little while, to a quiet place alone with You. Let me pour out all of my worries at Your feet and leave them there. Refill me with Your peace and joy, there is no one on this earth that can give me that peace and joy for which I long but You. Help me find a quiet place for more than ten minutes that doesn't involve waking up in the middle of the night. Let me be Yours, all Yours with no distractions until I am able to carry on my duties of wife and mother with a joyful heart once again. Amen.