When I left for the novena at church on Monday night, it began to snow. It started in earnest as I left my neighborhood, and, being a Mississippi transplant, I almost turned around. Twice. Was it going to stick? Would I be stuck? The snow swirled on the road and I thought about it — but pressed on and was rewarded with the most amazing experience. Not only was a novena held in the chapel, attended by friends from church, school, and my moms group, but my RCIA classmates were also preparing for parallel prayer in our classroom, with the same prayers and hope, before we began learning about reconciliation. As I sat there with the others new to Catholicism, I was overwhelmed with gratitude and hope.
Still, I worried about the snow, and I couldn’t help but look out the window afterward, concerned about the trip back. I left early — and walked out the doors to a still, quiet night, with not a flake in sight. Embarrassed to go back in and admit that I was so wrong, I popped inside the chapel instead, and was amazed to see a dozen more bowed heads, all praying for a cure, a miracle, for the cancer to be gone. I stayed, and although I can’t recall the last time I prayed in public aside from a Sunday, I stayed. My brain fidgeted, and it was hard to concentrate, and I wondered whether I should pray the same prayer that I had been praying so hard for so long with my kids (Dear God, please heal Mommy.) or something fancier, or the rosary that I knew others were saying, as their beads clicked softly in their hands. I tried and I tried, as the minutae of motherhood kept popping into my mind, each competing for my attention. There was this to do, and that, and of course the other, and did I ever order those pictures? I fought back the distractions and prayed. And failed. And prayed again. And then, through the chaos of all that needed to be done, all the tasks that wanted my attention, I felt a wave of calmness, with the unspoken words: Be still, and know that I am God.
And I was. And I do. And prayer came more easily, as I focused on that one verse. and pleaded for my life.
The next day, two things happened. The first was, prayer came very easily, like settling in with a friend on a long distance phone call. The second was, I got the most amazing email from a woman who blogged with the name or url BestillandknowthatIamGod. And I sat in wonderment, not understanding, but grateful, and I remembered what I had learned the night before.
The email is no longer in my box, and I can’t find her blog anywhere, but I was so sure —
Monday and Tuesday were amazing days, filled with energy and oomph and preschool dropoff and kindergarten pickup and brownies with sprinkles and legos with my children. By Wednesday, I was pooped, and went to bed with the kids just after dinner. Thursday was better, and I made it to the novena, but by Friday I was exhausted, resting both all morning and again in the afternoon, as my heart raced for no apparent reason. We had company for dinner, but I mostly just sat in my easy chair and enjoyed the conversation, until putting the kids and myself to bed at 8:00.
Ellen sent me a note about the novena this week, a really amazing note that reassured me and helped, but it’s not mine to share, so I’ll just say this — thank you.
The flowers? They came from “those guys” I wrote about last week. They apologized, and I believe they meant it. Not because of the flowers, though. Because of their words, and how quickly they acted to make it right.