A Lenten Journey of Care – Week 2
Mornings were crazy when I was a newly divorced, single mom of two active elementary-aged kids. Getting myself up and ready for a new job and two kids dressed, fed, and ready for school with homework, books, and after-school equipment and out the door before the bell rang was enough to flood my whole body with adrenalin.
That morning shot of adrenalin made my insides quiver, my thoughts race, and my heart pound. It also juiced up a mean-spirited inner dialogue, “Why can’t you get up in time to have a peaceful morning? You’re late again.”
Somewhere along that anxious way, I read about a man who intentionally left the stresses of his day on a certain tree that he passed on his commute home. Sounded like a great idea to me, but what I needed was to let go of the stresses of the morning on my way to work.
So, I started an experiment.
As I put my car in reverse on my way out of my garage, I took a deep, deep breath.
Most days, I would breathe deeply and consciously the whole way to school and to work.
It was mere minutes, but those minutes changed my life.
It was so calming, I began to experiment with connecting deep, conscious breathing with other repeated actions in my day.
I began to pray the Sarum Prayer, each line connected with an in-breath and an out-breath, during the few quiet moments I spent in the bathroom in the morning:
“God be in my head and in my understanding.
God be in my eyes and in my looking.
God be in my mouth and in my speaking.
God be in my heart and in my thinking.
God be at my end and at my departing.”
These days, some 25 years later, when I wake up at fear o’clock in the morning and my mind starts down some dark path, the breath and the prayer kicks in, “yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you are with me.”
When I’m angry or hurt and my emotions flood my brain, the breath and the prayer kicks in, “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing.”
What might happen if you took a deep conscious breath as you put your car in reverse today?
What might it look like over a lifetime?
— Leigh Anne Taylor
Pray the Sarum Prayer being attuned to your own breathing as you pray the prayer. Breathe in and out in the tune of the lines.
If you haven’t seen it check out last week’s reflection, check it out here.