Last night, I sat down in my special prayer corner (which is in a large walk-in closet) to meditate. It was late and I was tired, but I really wanted to meditate and pray before bed. Normally, my teenagers are asleep when I meditate, and they know to leave me alone when I’m sitting in my prayer corner, but it’s winter break and they are up much later than usual. Soon after I began, my sixteen-year-old daughter came into the closet, sat down, and said, “Can you talk to me before you start?” Of course, I said yes, knowing that teenagers don’t often ask to spend some time with their parents. She put her head in my lap, which is short-hand in our family for “Please scratch my head”. I scratched her head while we chatted about nothing much. Then the dog came in, parked himself right next to me, looked me in the eye and started whining - another short-hand message for “Please scratch my head”. So, I scratched both my daughter’s and the dog’s head, one with my left hand and the other with my right. Then, my son came in. Sensing a party, he lay down next to his sister, had some choice words with her (they are either fighting or best friends - go figure) and asked to have his head scratched. The dog left because I couldn’t scratch his head any more. The three of us talked for a bit, then the two teenagers left and went to bed.
My meditation time had been usurped by a very special mother-and-kids time. When they were little, I would pray with the kids every night before tucking them into bed. Appropriately, that no longer happens, so when I get a moment with them before bedtime, it is precious. For just a moment after they left me, however, I despaired of ever having a significant spiritual life. Then I realized what a gift I was given - the gift of quality time with my teenagers, of just being together. Because it was very late by that time, I quickly said my intercessory prayers, asked for God’s blessings for the folks on my prayer list, and I went to bed.
When I was in my twenties, I visited an Episcopal priest who happened to be my boyfriend’s sister. She shared a nugget of wisdom that I still remember. She explained that the Christian cross is a symbol for how we can experience God: the vertical or upright bar of the cross represents our direct communication with God, and the horizontal bar represents our interactions with other earthly beings. (Susan Klein, if you are reading, thank you for your inspiration.) Last night, instead of experiencing a direct communication with God through meditation, I experienced Spirit through interaction with my children.
And that is what an Everyday Mystic is all about - appreciating all the blessings we are given, everyday.