FACT: God is with us at every moment of every day in the most ordinary things. There is nothing extraordinary that I must do in order to be with Him. It's not necessary for me drop everything and run to church, or hide myself away in a quiet place of solitude, in order to turn my heart toward His adorable gaze. He is there knocking on the door of my heart at every moment - and I just need to open the door.
I'm not sure that I understood the simple truth of this until I heard it loud and clear from my dear friend, Jaymie, who was the first to clue me in.
She had come to speak to a group of us at our summer conference in Lowell, Massachusetts, and I remember understanding this at a much deeper level: that God is as present to me at the kitchen sink as He is when I come away to a quiet place to give Him my undivided attention. I have His attention at all times. He is never 'sort of' listening.
If I allow myself to believe in this truth - that the prayers I utter as I'm folding laundry or washing out the bathroom sink are no less important to the Lord than what I offer during quiet prayer time away from all distractions - then my prayer always becomes the intimate conversation it was meant to be: prayer from the depths of my heart.
It is me who limits my Savior to pockets of time in my day. It is me who shuts Him off and stops listening to that still, small Voice throughout so much of my day. The Lord never wanders off, closes the office for the evening, pulls down the curtain or shuts off the light. That is all my doing. I am the one who puts Him in the back seat until I have deemed that 'now is a good time for me to hear from You, Lord'.
I remember one afternoon while I was working at a doctor's office in the city. I was sitting at the computer as I finished a transcription tape for the Nurse Practitioner. In one incredible instant I found myself consumed with an unspeakable joy. In one instant I completely understood what it means for me to offer all of my daily duties, my work, my trials, my struggles, and each moment of my day to the One who is always present. Right then and there I felt the palpable presence of Mary, the Mother of God, asking me to "offer even these little things with great joy" to Her beloved Son.
All I was doing was typing. I was doing what I did every day for days on end, week after week, for long periods of time - just typing up medical notes in the back office of a very non-eventful setting. Nothing special or super-sacrificial was going on here. Nothing out of my daily routine was being accomplished. Yet Our Lady was letting me know how important it was to Jesus to offer these little acts with great love.
This is where He wants to meet me : in the ordinary. This is where He wants to be included : in my 'hum-drum' daily routine, going about the tasks of the day in obedience to my state in life. God is not asking me to hide from my work, leave behind my dirty house or ignore the obligations of my weekday job. He wants to be included in each of those moments. He so lovingly wants to walk with me through every joy, trial, struggle, disappointment and victory.
I once heard a dear friend of mine, a Sister in a beautiful community, tell me that every day she asks the Lord for a greater awareness of His indwelling presence. I never forgot that beautiful profession for a deeper faith. I believe that this is such a powerful prayer - and one that I now pray for each of us:
O Lord, please help us to be intimately aware of Your presence within us each day. Help us to know without a doubt that You are intimately involved in every aspect of our lives because of Your deep love for us - and that offering up all things to You, for Your perfect plans and Your greater glory, will purify and magnify the gift of each moment. We pray this in the Name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Your beloved Son. Amen.