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Sometimes when it’s late at night like this and the house is quiet I can write. Not always and not often. Usually the screen gets blurry and I find my typing skills drop to naught, my spelling- atrocious and my sense of grammar leaves me completely. But every once in a while when it’s late at night and the house is quiet I can write and the writing is prayer.

I suppose I always thought it was the words I put down on the paper or the effort I took to wait for the quiet to come and keep myself conscious but I know now it isn’t what I write or perhaps even the act of writing. Now I know that it’s prayer because it makes room for something holy to happen. I’m clearing away space and letting it get filled up with whatever I’ve been holding at arm’s length all day.

“I’ll get to it later” repeats over and over and the pile on my desk doesn’t get any smaller. I nearly had a panic attack today just signing my sons up for boy scouts because the catalogue of things I haven’t done but have yet to do came crashing down on my psyche. Of course there is no room for the quiet. Of course I’ll have to get to it later.

It’s later.

When I sit down and I let it be “later” and I let the words come and I let the silence sit next to me, take up residence, listen to the clicking of my keyboard I am not worried. I am not concerned about the laundry list languishing on top of the refrigerator. There is only now, only this quiet, this moment, this prayer.

And then I think about “praying without ceasing” and that sets me off a little. I launch into some strange grief about why I can’t make housework into prayer. I wonder why all my talk of finding God in the quotidian can’t help me channel my inner Kathleen Norris no matter how hard I work at it. I chide myself that I won’t even draw one moment during the day to recognize the holy when it’s dressed in the same shirt it has been wearing for weeks. I see it, I know I see it and all I can think is, “Oh God, I have to wash that damn shirt.”

But you know here’s the thing I realize as I sit in here in the quiet- the quiet is always present and always present tense. Prayer doesn’t need the quiet, the quiet needs the prayer. The quiet waits for the prayer, for the late night clicking of fingers on the keyboard, for the words that have been circulating in an overworked mind, an exhausted body. The quiet waits so beautifully, so eternally, so patiently. The quiet is so glad for the attention when it comes and is never angry when I’d rather go to sleep than keep it company.

But sometimes, when it’s late at night like this and the house is quiet I can write and the writing is prayer and the quiet is kind.

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©2021 by Angela Doll Carlson