In reading the gospel of the day with my students these past two weeks, I’ve noticed a recurring theme. The gospel writer, Mark, mentions time and again that Jesus often separated from his apostles, seeking a deserted place to pray. I tell my students that the reason we stand for the gospel is that we are not supposed to simply read the words and meditate upon them, but we are to ACT upon them. Standing is a posture of action. Often, I challenge my students to look critically at the gospels, and see what Christ might be inviting us to emulate. (See Mark 1:35,45, Mark 6:46)
As a busy, working mother, it seemed clear to me that through Mark’s gospel, Christ was showing me the importance of silence – something eagerly sought after, but so hard to obtain in my noisy life. As mothers, we travel throughout our days with the chatter of children, the noise of television, car radios and the constant “bings and bongs” of ipods and cell phones. Unless we make the time for silence – a time to talk to God and even more importantly a time to Listen, we won’t be able to hear Him speak to our hearts.
You might say, “Sure! I’d love that. But there’s no time.” I hear you! I’ve tried getting up ten minutes early – which for me would be 4:50 a.m. – to read my bible and talk to God. Occasionally, it does work. It seems, however, that no matter how quiet I try to be, some little munchkin often hears me, and decides to join me for some snuggling and conversation.
I once asked the mother of five how she managed to stay so spiritual and so calm. She told me her secret – the bathtub! There is a rule in her house that when mom goes into the bathroom, no one is to disturb her unless there is fire or blood! I have taken her sage advice, and it’s wonderful! Now, sometimes, I do have to schedule my bathtime – when my husband or my older child is available to watch our youngest. It’s so worth the wait!
I put on the fan for white noise (so I can’t hear the bedlum that’s taking place in the next room), sink down into the bubbles and pour my heart out to God. Once I’ve told Him all my troubles, I simply relax and listen. There in the bathtub, He accepts me as I am, curves, wrinkles and all. He calms my restless spirit. He bolsters my faith and renews my hope. He helps me to step out of the bathtub and into the world of motherhood again, refreshed and recharged!
“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11: 27-29