sanctuary! sanctuary!

It’s the first week of January and I am tried. Bone tired. The kind of tired that even after 12 hours of deep sleep I would still be walking around in a fog tired. Yesterday, I woke feeling all the anxiety and annoyance that followed me on Monday. I knew I could not face another day of that so I decided to change things up a bit. I took care of getting Court off to school and set the man-boy to work on a few chores that needed to be done around the house. Then I grabbed my purse and left.

I drove a little too fast down the road and about five minutes later, ran from my car and flung open the doors of a small little building yelling SANCTUARY! SANCTUARY! seeking asylum in the only place I knew would grant it to a lunatic stressed out middle-aged freaky woman like me in my current state of mental and emotional disarray.

The silence greeted me like a warm coat on a blistery winters day, folding it’s arms around me pulling me into a tender embrace filled with hope and healing. I sought sanctuary in a small quiet chapel surrounded by pious people on their knees worshiping their God. As I settled on my knees I peaked around me. Everyone looked so serene. I was immediately jealous. I could feel the green crawling into my heart. I WANT THAT! I WANT PEACE! In my heart, my mind, my life. Why can’t I have that? I thought feeling another foot stompin, hair curling fit beginning to build in the pit of my stomach. Oh yeah that would be so appropriate right now. A two year old fit in front of all these Holy Hannah’s. They would be carting me off in a flash.

So I looked up at that beautiful monstrance filled with my Eucharistic Lord in all His splendor and glory took a deep breath that could be heard about a mile away and just stared. I took Him in for a very long while. I didn’t cry. I didn’t beg. I just looked deeply into the heart of My Beloved. Then, I poured it all out. My heart was overflowing with grief, anger, anxiety and a whole bunch of other not so wonderful stuff. I whispered my desire for calm and sanity to return to my universe. I apologized for my bad temper and outrageous behavior towards my family these past few days. I laid my selfishness, pride and resentment at the foot of the altar. I asked Him to take this ugly, ripped, stained and tarnished gift of my broken self and restore it. Then I stopped.

"Be still and know that I am GOD"

I was still. I was so still that I actually fell asleep in that cozy quiet little chapel surrounded by the rising prayers of other believers. I caught myself once and had a flash back to grade school with Sr. Frances Verna administering a love tap on the back of my head during Holy Hour for the same offense. Fearing her return from the dead to repeat that punishment, I got out my rosary and began to invoke Our Lady to help me stay awake. After about 30 minutes it dawned on me…I needed to REST in HIM. I mean really rest. I had been trying to do this ALL on my own. What was I thinking?

I have been a gerbil carrying a 60 pound pack running on that darn wheel and getting nowhere these last three months. I have been in survival mode. Not really laying burdens down and resting but flinging them off and picking up new ones. From Courtney’s hospitalization, Jerry’s work demands, Jonathan’s drama and my own un-met expectations to a stressful holiday filled with extended family tension and too many commitments, I have lost my ever lovin' mind! I needed to stop and get off that stomach churning ride and take a time-out because I was going to take someone out very soon if I kept going.

So, I rested. I laid everything down before my King. EVERYTHING! Nothing was too small to give him. By the time I left that peaceful sanctuary, my heart was filled with joy for the first time in a long time. My mind was peaceful and my body calm. HIS mercy and grace had washed over me healing and repairing all the broken places. I had filled my empty vessel with Jesus and now I could face the craziness of my life, dealing with 20 year old man-boys, disabled children, crazy families and a husband who needs as much sanctuary as I do.

I got in the car, went straight to a café, filled up with a half-caf, 2 yellow, whole milk latte, put Casting Crowns on the Ipod and a indulged in a few hours of writing. Ahhhhhhhhh. JOY! PEACE! Everything has been reset and I feel whole again.

So today is a new day! OK world. Watcha got for me? I am renewed and rehabilitated, raring to go. So bring it on. Me and my man Jesus…we’re ready to rumble!

On second thought...WAIT ONE SECOND...I might need another latte first.

Blessings and Grace,