Vespers

When I was a little girl, I could not fall asleep without my mom there with me. I didn’t need the light on but needed her to read one more chapter, rub my head, and please just sing the Christopher Robin song one more time. She almost always did stay with me, too. At least, that’s how I remember it. Having her there, after a long day of being a kid, comforted me.

So. 45 years in and I have to say, I think being a grown up is harder than being a kid. Like monumentally harder. My mom lives right next door, and I will confess there are nights when it is mighty tempting to call her up at bedtime and ask her to come read, please, just one chapter of Little Women or Black Beauty. But, you know, being a grown up and all, I mostly let my mom have some peace. (Except for maybe on the rare occasions when I’m really sick.)

Instead on most nights, I remember to fall asleep saying grace. I think a lot of people do that – give thanks for all things at the end of the day. It’s a habit that comforts me and grounds me. Last night my bedtime grace went something like this:

    Thank you for a husband who loves me so much, who lets me be me.
    Oh, thank you for giving me the greatest girl on the planet and thank you for us staying close.
    I’m so proud of my sister and happy we’re friends. Thank you for giving my sister to me.
    Oh my God, this hound dog right next to me is so sweet. Thank you for her puppyness.
    It’s good that jobs are opening up. Thank you for this, too.
    I love hearing that train whistling around down there at our beautiful river. Is it coming from our mountains or going back to them?
    Thank you for my grammy, I miss her a lot. Thank you for giving me my mom and also my aunt and those sweet west coast boys. I am a lucky girl to be part of this family.
    Talking with KK tonight made my day so special; thank you for giving her this day and for every new day she will have.
    Lordy, my in-laws are the most generous people. Thank you for that and for placing them in my life.
    Thank you for everyone who is helping Haiti and please be really clear and extra loud with me about what I can do now, from here, and well, this time is about thanks so,
    Thank you for friends who stick by me even when I go underground and hibernate with a manuscript,
    Thank you for all those folks who believe in me and my work and who have the patience to wait for so long for something from me. Thanks a lot for that.
    I miss Albert. Thank you for bringing that horse into my life, for letting him remember me in between snow storms. One day, it would be so awesome to have him live where we live, to wake up and look out my bedroom window and see him grazing there would be the best. But, this is about thanks so,
    Oh yeah, thank you for giving me such a good, strong body. I’ll try to do better with taking care of it…

Falling asleep in prayer helps me.

And this morning, before the alarm clock or the coonhound started going off, I awoke in the dark to this extra clear and really loud thought in my mind: All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well. My good friend, SaraAnne, used to tell me about Julian of Norwich, who was the first woman to write an English language book and how this prayer was in her book , The Revelations of Divine Love.

I reckon even prayers of thanksgiving are, at the same time, prayers of petition for a husband to find job, for a headache to get better, for a nation to be rebuilt, for a friend’s cancer to just freaking go away, for the full healing up of grief and loss, for a horse to be all right without its person, for a puppy to keep sleeping so the household can keep sleeping.

And the clear, loud response from the tenderest Mother: All shall be well .

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