I am back at Stanton house for a few days. I am here again, to rest. As soon as I entered the house yesterday, I felt a dead weight lifted from me. The balmy soft-blue walls of my room spoke peace, and I fell into prayer.
I soon sleep. Not the fitful, waking-up-too-early kind, but the truly deep and restful kind. I sleep over twice as long as I would on an ordinary work-night. I feel calmed, held. I walk the grounds. There are sheep in the fields, with lambs, and I watch them play. They frolic and bounce, return to their mothers, then skip off again, eying their mothers suspiciously, lest they should dare disappear from view. As I watch them I am reminded of something from a Jesuit prayer workshop. A story about dog-walking. About how if you take your dog for a walk, but it wanders off on its own.for a bit before returning to you, you wouldn’t say of the time it was off alone, that it wasn’t out for a walk with you. So, said the Jesuit, it is with prayer.
And I am indebted to him for saying this. Even here, in such quiet, as I begin to pray, I find myself distracted, my mind wanders off, unbidden. I see the swing in the garden, and feel I must have a go on it. I am somewhere else completely before I know it; away from God in the here and now, I’m brushing up against the branches of a sycamore tree, before swooping down to the ground, and back up again. But I am still with God. As I swing, I remember the analogy to my own life: as my breath is taken away by the highs, I realise that they are impossible to experience without the accompanying lows. And the swing is like a cradle, always under me, carrying me to the heights and the depths. If I hold on tight, I won’t fall. I let God cradle me as I cry; express myself honestly, to Him.
Thus, the distractions speak to me, remind me of God’s promises. As I watch the lambs, I see their trust in their mothers. They can play without her, yet always return for reassurance and sustenance. I am drawn back to The Lamb of God: to His gentle hold on me, to wanting to trust Him more. I pray for God to ground me in Him completely. Surrounding me, I feel a deep, all-enveloping peace.