Thursday, September 01, 2011


Classes began on Monday. I'm a veteran of 48 first days of school (will I ever grow up?), I know what to do to be ready the night before. My books were collected, my lunch organized, my clothes laid out (though no shiny new saddle shoes). Alarm set, check.

My alarm went off on time, but hearing Math Man in the shower, I hit the snooze button. And snooze I did. I didn't notice that Math Man was done, and long gone downstairs to have breakfast — or that my alarm was gently chiming — before I woke up again. Yipes. Well, at least I was organized, I could still make morning prayer.

At 8:13 I was ready to sail out the door. Math Man offered to put some air in my bike tires, but I demurred. "I really need that prayer time with my community." I reached for my keys. Which. were. not. there. Or any of the next four logical places I looked. No keys, no way to (un)lock the bike. And no morning prayer.

"Breathe," I chanted under my breath. I hadn't had my keys since before the hurricane hit. Where would I have tucked them on Thursday afternoon? My contemplative stance is fraying fast. Breathe. I finally located them tucked into the bag I taken to the academic fair. Too late for morning prayer, but still in time to get set up for my class on spaces for contemplation. Breathe.

Math Man offered again to add some air to my tires. I decided my soul could use some pnuema as well. Now. Not when I got to my office. I pulled a chair from the garage (stored there against the winds of the hurricane), set it on the lawn, pulled my breviary out of my bag and prayed morning prayer. (It was the feast of the beheading of St. John the Baptist, by comparison, I was having a fine day.) Breathe. Math Man pushed air into my tires, the Spirit gently wafted Her way into my soul. Air. Spirit. Breath.

My bike ran more smoothly with full tires. My day felt less frantic with a full soul (though it wasn't at all smooth!).

Breathe in me O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy; Act in me O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy; Draw my heart O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy; Strengthen me O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy; Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen. — Prayer of St. Augustine


  1. "Breathe". Exact same self injunction upon perceived loss of $72 bus pass (on a credit card sized card; I've been very careful). Card found. (What if it hadn't been? Would I still have been able to breathe? Perhaps God thought, 'not yet.')

    I miss morning prayer. Thank you for going for both of us.

  2. *card lost and found all today, no conscious St. Anthony prayer involved!

  3. Lovely piece, and it reminds me to hold you in prayer more deeply for this major transition.

  4. I have two small graphics in my office, one urging "Breathe", the other "ahhh" as in Exhale.

    Oh, I have been there with you so many times. The lost thing that scares the daylights out of you for that minute. The way that feeling fuddles your brain and holds you hostage! Glad that all is found. Happy school days. I hope this year is wonderful for you.


  5. today is my first day. I may need to breathe now and then myself.

  6. Here’s the deal with gaseous evolutionary phenomena. The Gasses never go where you want them to. It’s as if they have a “will of their own.” If we could find a way to freeze the Gasses down to absolute zero, we could make a lot of money!

  7. Marvelous!! I'm so glad to be back (online) and so glad you're back (at school) ....

    and I have missed reading your Blog - so I have lots to catch up on.

    While breathing!