Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Be still and BE:" Gentleness on the Front Lines of Parenting

"Be still and BE."
I'm spending time with the St. Francis de Sales these days. His words on gentleness, and examples of this way of being, are continually emerging in my life; combined with the line "Be still and BE" that I received in an email this morning, this all speaks loudly to my heart and mind.

A simple Salesian phrase from the Visitation Sisters' co-founder that feels connected to this line comes to mind:
"All is gentle to the gentle." --St Francis de Sales (LR VI 28)
I believe that when we allow stillness, simple breathing and an emptying of our hearts and minds to occur, that a gentleness may wash over us.
In the midst of my scrambling this morning, sad from an exchange with my husband that simply didn't go the way that I wanted, the effervescent Marguerite spilled over a glass of raspberry iced tea that I had left out. The contents landed on me, my white shirt, light green pants, and some of her "new" garage sale clothes that had recently been laundered: white and khaki items now turned pink-colored.

I swore, and then started crying. I don't like my child to experience me in such a state, but it is my humanity at work, and so what else is there, but to then be gentle with myself, her and respond as I am able. In the moment, I placed my 15 month old daughter in her high chair, and took all the soiled linens to the basement and sprayed them with stain remover.

When I returned, she was staring at me, and all I could see were the piles of dirty dishes in the sink, the unwashed countertops, an ajar back door: things that needed my attention. I was even more mad. And still: crying.

I could hear this Salesian priest speak to me: The more mercy we require, the more we receive.

I spoke to the knives in the kitchen drawer: I need a lot of mercy right now! Patience! Gentleness! Please?

And my child stood in her high chair, reaching her arms out to me.

That was two and a half hours ago. It's amazing what moving through moments, consciously, prayerfully, full of angst is all about.

"Be still and BE."

Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde,
Visitation Companion


Marsha B West said...

Beautiful, Melisisa! Your posts are always so thoughtful and so down-and-dirty REAL.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Melissa for this post. It's a gift that invites me to be open about my own vulnerabilities. Sounds like Marguerite knew just what to do, too.
-- Judy