From last Sunday's Gospel (John 14): Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Father went on to explain that Peace is not the absence of conflict or having everything exactly as we want it. Peace is about God dwelling within us which leads to Peace. Presence leads to Peace.
At this time of the year, things are very hectic. There are a million things to do at school and teaching is NOT in the top million. The kids are there as a distraction and irritant, it seems. Progress reports, retention hearings, evaluations, surveys, inventories, honors night, the oscars, closing out files, grades, cleaning, field day, post testing. Teaching?? Did you see that anywhere? Not! Just keep 'em busy and out of the office!
Usually at this time of the year, I am wound tighter than tight. And that tightness is so evident in my neck and shoulders that it is physically painful. This year hasn't been too bad. It helps that our IEPs have been done throughout the year and don't have to all be redone in the last two months of school.
I still have more stuff than I will ever have time to get done, but the stress hasn't hit yet. I know that I will get it all done. I always do. Probably due more to God's good grace than anything else.
Last Wednesday, I went to Mass at the church that burned a few weeks ago. (Mass was in the library.) The priest talked about burnout (how appropriate) and how important it is to stay "connected" to "the Vine". Ways that we stay connected include Eucharist, Reconciliation and retreats. Lord, strengthen my connection to you. (John 15)
Daily Mass is the best! On Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays, I can go at 6:30 a.m. and it is rare that anything gets between me and Mass on those days. Sometimes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I can drop my kids off and make it by the skin of my teeth to 7:30 Mass across town. That hasn't happened much in the last couple of months - they drag their feet too much. So I was going to the next best thing - an Adoration Chapel. Except that I would spend 10 minutes getting there and about that much time getting back to school. Didn't leave much time for praying..
Then I realized another option.... Sometimes I think God lets us figure these things out bit by bit. There is a church very near my school (like 2 minutes away) that has a 7:15 a.m. daily Mass. I never make it in time for that, but the last couple of weeks, I have gotten there as the 7:15 Mass was letting out. They have Adoration on Tuesdays after Mass. So as the people were leaving (and I said "hi" to one of my co-workers) I would go in and find a nice quiet place where I could spend 20 minutes or so before jumping into the frying pan. On Wednesdays there is no morning Mass, but I know the code to the side door. I went again today. How peaceful to sit in church with just Jesus!
Pray for me. I don't know how I will get everything done. Prayer and fasting and God's grace. But right now in all of the aggravation, I am very much feeling His Presence and His Peace, which is just an awesome gift!.