Sometimes lectio begins in the strangest places. Perhaps this is because, as a 10-year-old child, Sister Placid told me I could pray anywhere, anytime. Prayer could begin almost any way like jumping rope or playing hopscotch. This practice has lasted all my life. There were times as a young mother I had no time for traditional prayer. Washing dishes, changing diapers, I found myself whispering a thank you to God, or maybe tears because I was so overwhelmed with four children under two years old.
Even now, traditional prayer has its place, but I still find myself whispering those short prayers that make no sense to anyone but me and that ineffable spirit who has captured my love.
Spring cleaning this year brought about inevitable thoughts of downsizing. I prayed, “I’m not old enough to downsize. I have so much more to learn and…”
I began sorting and found myself in the middle of lectio.
Cradling seven pairs of white-high tops wrapped in tissue paper, I remembered how I bucked the trend/fad at the time to bronze a baby’s first shoes. I wanted to remember forever sweet baby smells and first steps. And, here they were, Stride Rights, the pediatricians’ choice as best toddler shoe. I saved pennies out of grocery money to pay for these “best” shoes.
Sean’s blue laces and Brian’s red ones helped me differentiate twin pairs. Galen’s double knots, a reminder how proud he was to tie a knot. Liam’s neatnik white prophesied his adult absolute attention to detail. I wanted Brendan’s color scribbles (no amount of shoe polish could hide) and Amy’s bells threaded through her laces to match the first rhyme “…rings on her fingers and bells on her toes…” Erin’s R and L complement of the twins and magic markers teaching her right and left. All the steps taken since then I could never have imagined.
I held those shoes tightly and continued to sink into a cloud of mommy joy and pain. Scripture prepared me for both. 350 times walking is mentioned. How many times are we asked to share someone’s journey? How many times are we given the opportunity to dance for joy? There is the tough one: “He has showed you what is good and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and love kindness and walk humbly with your God.” This means there is a time when a mom must let go and let her little fledglings become adults and walk their own way learning from mistakes and learning how to think on their own, understanding that their way to integration is a lifelong journey. So my prayer today is, “Fly high little ones…you’re still my babies…but I loved you enough to let you go.”
Yes, it is both as I’m pretty sure it is for every mother who has to love enough to let them go… children to become their own person and the physical lifetime treasures growing older requires to pass on.
Pat Pickett, OblSB
Photo: Pat’s lectio one Monday morning