In my last post, I mentioned both an e-mail to Dr. D. and a meeting with Fr. D. I figured I'd break up the "plan" from/with each of them into separate posts.
We'll start with the "spiritual" plan.
So, Fr. D. surprised me and said "sure, go ahead and white-knuckle through the next 6 months, I'll be happy to help you pick up the pieces afterwards."
Obviously, that is not what he said. But, what he did say resulted in The Man literally laughing out loud when I recounted my session with Fr. D.
You see, I'm a choleric. I like a task to focus on. Give me something to read, I'll read it. Give me specific prayers to pray, I'll pray them. Though, I have been in a bit of a "prayer-slump" lately. I go to daily Mass, I intercede for others, and I say a morning "Our Father" with The Man. But that's been it. Even my commuting rosary has become nearly non-existent. Often Mass leads to some good contemplation and reflection, so that helps, but not always. But generally, give me something to accomplish and I'll accomplish it. (See why this whole infertility thing is so tough for me?)
So, I told Fr. D "my prayer life is in the crapper." (Yes, I really said that. And, for the record, I don't recommend saying that unless you are ready for what is going to come next.) I proceeded to explain that I needed him to guide me through the next months, years maybe because I know I need to pray my way through this whole "treatment without white knuckling" process, but I'm not sure where to start. I rambled ridiculously for about 2 full minutes before finally saying "I'll just shut up now."
And then he said, "well, you have intuited what you need to do. It was the suggestion I was going to give you. You need to pray."
So I asked, "well, yea, but how. Like with spiritual reading or forcing myself to do the Hours, or what?"
"Nope. At least 30 minutes a day of nothing but prayer, following the 90-10 rule of 90% listening, 3% talking/asking. So that's 27 minutes of listening, 3 minutes of asking. So that gives you about one or two questions to ask God, maybe "what do you want from me" or "what is Your Will for my life" or "how should we proceed with regards to infertility." And then you just listen. And journal. Journal what you hear, being careful not to journal what you think"
He saw me fidget and squirm and continued, "you'll probably spend a lot of the time just clearing your mind in the beginning. You'll have to firmly quiet the other thoughts that want to take over."
To which I said, "but my grocery list is SO much less threatening to think about than God's will for my life."
He knows me, smiled gently and said, "I know. That's the point."
And with a few more guidelines (like reminding me no rosary and that my commute time was not the time to do this, this was time for just me and God. period.) and some more info on the journaling part, our time was up.
As I got into the car and started reflecting on our session (as I always do since I have an hour drive home from Fr. D's parish), it occurred to me, The Man was going to find this most funny because this is how he prays. He is a beautiful contemplative soul who was taught, by his dad growing up, to meditate and just be and listen.
This is why we go round and round about trying to pray together. I want to pray the hours, a rosary, read the daily mass readings. The Man wants to contemplate. To sit. To listen.
And now, Fr. D was telling me to do just that.
I know I need to get my "scripted" prayer life back on track with my rosaries and Liturgy of the Hours. I am going to go back to the Magnificat prayer booklets because the full Liturgy of the Hours is just depressing by myself. It speaks so beautifully to me when on retreat and in groups, but daily, by myself, I just don't have the same love for it. While the prayers in the Magnificat are there for Morning, Evening, and Night, they also tie beautifully to the Mass readings for the day and are abbreviated. I have much respect for our clergy and religious who must pray the hours faithfully.
But with this renewing of my scripted prayer life. I will also be setting aside my 30 minutes per day. I'm going to set up a prayer space in one of our spare bedrooms in hopes of limiting my distractions. A favorite candle, my journal, an iPod dock (for classical music or nature sounds only) and comfy slippers are already waiting for me.
It seems so easy to say: 30 minutes of silent prayer time each day. Let go and let God.
Yet, I know this may well be the most challenging thing I've ever done.