Monday, 11 October 2010


I spent the weekend at St Michael's convent in Ham. For various reasons, it's a long time since I've been and it felt like going home. It's a very special place to me and somewhere where I can connect with God and with myself, with my need to rest and to meander. I slept 11 hours solid on Friday night, and 10 on Saturday, and enjoyed a lesuirely rise into the day, thinking fondly of my puppy who would have had me out in the dark and cold at 6:30am. (And thanks for my husband for doing both dawn and dusk duty.)
While I often bemoan my busy life, I am beginning to see that a great deal of the stress I feel is fictional. Not that I make it up just to say I'm stressed, but that I generate such internal stress that I project it out onto my external environment. I have long suspected this, but when I found myself getting worked up at all I had to do to tidy my room when I was on retreat, I realized that this is how I feel and not the truth. And I know that at home I erupt this stress all over my family, who are frequently caught in the lava flow and so it spreads. They pass it on to each other, the tension levels rise and soon we are all sick with the stress virus.
I was reminded of the passage in Mark's gospel where Jesus speaks of the greatest commandments: to love God wholeheartedly and to love our neighbour as ourselves. No other commandment ranks with these. Not 'Thou shalt educate your children', not 'Thou shalt provide nutritious meals', not 'Thou shalt clean the house and do all the laundry', not even 'Thou shalt blog and answer all your e-mails'. Just love: love God, love your neighbours, (and I think in this case my children are my closest neighbours.) So today I have tried to respond in every moment in love. I've tried to listen, I've tried not to chide, I've tried to stop for a hug, I've tried not to shout. With God's help, I've even managed it a few times!

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