Did you ever have one of THOSE days? I did, recently.
It started with the morning routine; coffee, prayers, kids off to school, exercise, work. Some writing time, some organization time, some planning time. A good day so far. Then it happened. The day morphed into one of ‘those’ days—all within a two-hour period. I had to get the kids off the school buses, bring my daughter for a haircut, have my son ready for theater practice, get both kids fed, bring my daughter to a babysitting appointment, and be ready to pick up the kids from theater practice and babysitting at various times. It was a delicate balance of flexibility, timing and patience. I got through the bus stop and bringing my daughter for her haircut, but after the haircut appointment, I realized a flaw in the plan. I didn’t have time to feed my daughter before her next stop—babysitting. I called my son to put a pizza into the oven for himself and thought to myself: yikes, my teenage son is at home with the oven on. Can’t wait to get back there and make sure the house doesn’t blow up. Oh yes, time to feed my daughter. Easy solution: stop at the local Wawa on the way. She and I made the stop and even selected a healthy option for her to eat. Back to the car.
Now, where are those car keys? Not in my pocket; not in my purse. “They’re right there, Mommy!” my daughter said with a smile. Yup, the keys were safely in the ignition…of the locked car. I haven’t locked my keys in the car in years, and today was the time to indulge. I stopped and thought: “Okay, God, I guess you’re reminding me to slow down!”
Schedule planning went into overload; I had a wonderful neighbor who could bring my son to theater practice, my friend picked up my daughter for babysitting, and my hero of a mother-in-law drove to the parking lot with a spare key, in case it was the right one. No, the house didn’t blow up with the oven being on, and no, my mother-in-law didn’t have the correct car key, but she at least had her car for me to ride home with her to pick up my spare key. We then drove back to the parking lot and I was able to bring my car home, just in time to pick up my daughter, and then an hour later, my son.
I desperately needed this beautiful prayer, and now enjoy it every morning with my Bible time. It’s adapted from Wilfred A. Peterson and is called “Prayer for a Peaceful Heart.” It will not prevent “those” days from happening, but will keep my response to those days to be one of thankfulness and peace.
“Please Lord, slow me down, ease my pounding heart
Quiet my racing mind, steady my hurried steps
Amidst the confusion of my days
Grant me the calmness of your peace
Help me to know the truly restoring gift of sleep
Teach me the art of taking time off
To slow down to see the beauty in your creation
To chat with a friend
To read a few lines from a good book
Remind me each day that there is more to life than increasing in speed
It is living, each moment, with You and for You
Let me look upwards
Into the branches of a towering oak
And know that it grew slowly and well
Please Lord, slow me down
Teach me to be gentle and humble of heart
Fearing nothing of this world
As you are my Lord
Grant me rest for my soul
Now and eternally with you
On that day, in Wawa’s parking lot, I didn’t look upwards into the branches of a towering oak, but I do remember looking upwards at the power line running across the top of the parking lot. My daughter and I noticed the line of birds sitting up there and we agreed there must have been a bird party going on! It was a beautiful way to refocus and look upwards when otherwise I would have never noticed the birds at all.
Tip of the week:
Slow down! Noticing the beauty of nature and the gift of a shared smile are probably the healthiest suggestions we can follow for joy—even in the middle of ‘those’ days.