God be with me when the cries of children snap that very last string on my instrument of peace.
God be near me when the day is full of the mundane; when I want to pull my hair out with the tedium of color, cut and paste.
Be with me; lift my head bowed in shame as the maintenance man has to sprawl on a scandalously filthy kitchen floor to check a phantom gas leak.
Be with me as I search for just one single matching pair of socks for each child.
And as I fruitlessly toss a room for their shoes.
As I watch the laundry multiply.
As I bathe a cat-like little child.
As I overfill the closet and watch a cascade of deal-with-it-later slide to the floor.
As I clear the floor for the 50th time and hope to vacuum before the toy tide washes in.
As I pull the evening meal out of my magic hat.
Lord be with me as I teach a child who crosses arms and steels gaze and refuses pencil-to-paper.
Or one who waits too long to potty and is very sad.
Or a toddler arching back, kicking, shrieking, not wanting to be held but wanting to be held.
Make me kind and compassionate.
Even as I wait for customer service to get back to me.
Or risk my life driving anywhere in the Chicago area.
Or when someone uses their "patient" voice on me.
God, grant me grace to own my temper flare, apologize, and try yet again.
Grace for now in my moment of need.
Grace for the little ones who are hungry, thirsty, love-needy, naked, sick, or confined "time-in" hostages of a parent's firm love.
Grace that chooses mercy, not judgement.
Gentleness, not pride.
Love, not dagger eyes.
Peace, not violence.
May I have the grace to carry on whether or not I can keep calm.
Courage to face the simple ordinary.
Perseverance for this long-term investment of time, energy, patience.
May your grace wash over this tired soul and spread a healing balm to everyone I know.