First published in the BC Catholic Newspaper on November 23, 2020 https://bccatholic.ca/voices/lisa-rumpel/prayer-of-a-silly-woman-in-front-of-the-tabernacle
Early in the morning one workday, I knelt in the chapel in our building. The sanctuary lamp flickered and glowed in the dark. It was a tangible reminder that in the empty chapel Jesus was there with me listening to my prayers.
I watched the candle’s flame dance, its light shining. I felt a peace wash over me. The feeling settled like a wool shawl around my shoulders. I am never alone. Even when I can’t see the candle burning.
My prayer goes something like this, “Please go with me. I am a silly woman in front of the tabernacle trying to find healing and strength. Lord, I know you can help me and all my dear ones. You are silent and strong. I know with you when everything goes wrong, You are right beside me. Hold me close to you. Never let me fear. I want to be one with you. I love you, my dear Saviour. I am worried but I put all my worries in your hands.”
Sometimes when I pray I can hear a quiet voice, “Darling, look upon me. Do not be afraid. I am always with you. I will not abandon you. I delight in your efforts, tenacity, and smiles. Do not weary. I will carry you if you are tired. I love you. You are mine. My daughter, be brave.”
And then after those precious quiet minutes, I picked up my lunch kit and went upstairs to my desk. I was ready to offer my day for my loved ones. I set out to work in a manner pleasing to God and my colleagues. Each phone call, email, and written report is an opportunity for prayer.
Even if you are a student and you have a lot of studying to do, it can be your time of prayer. I often think that way about my writing. When it seems I can’t take time away from house chores or other pressing work, I remind myself that this is also a way to pray.
I am my biggest critic. When I see some of my finished work – either my writing, podcast, or videos – I start to point out all that I did wrong. Or when I fall into the same sins again and again.
I turn to the Lord saying, “Lord, I am your cracked clay pot. I am your unpolished art. Mould me and fashion me.”
The beauty of that moment is, I can begin again. I can learn from my mistakes or even my beginner’s method. I can grow and adapt and change. I am leaning on the strength of the Lord in prayer and the sacraments and practising flexibility. I have a strong desire to be ready for the Lord like those wise bridesmaids who had extra oil for their lamps.
For a whole week I had trouble sleeping. I had sensory hallucinations from my mental illness showing up along with stress. It passed and I learned that taking the rest I need is non-negotiable. I treasure the hours of solid sleep I can get, knowing that this is one key way to stay healthy.
When there is a flurry of concern in politics and culture, I hold on to the word of God, which is true. And I look to the things that I can control which are my “thoughts, muscles and impulses” (Dr. Abraham Low, American neuropsychiatrist). I am amazed at the peace I can receive when I read Scripture and give my burdens to the Lord. It does help!
I continue to rise and give my best. Some days I am more tired than others. I focus on what I can do and “be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction. Practise resurrection” (Wendell Berry).
Check out my podcast, The Resilient Catholic: Shining light on your journey to flourish with Mental Health, available on popular streaming services. It is updated once a month on Wednesday.