May. For many of our neighbors, friends and family members, May conjures up images of blooming gardens, baseball, and picnics in the park. For those of us whose lives are ruled by the academic calendar, however, May often means lots less sleep, lots more late days in the office, and a steady stream of stressed-out students doing the doorway dance for a moment of our attention while we hide under our desks frantically trying to calculate whether or not there’s enough money leftover in our budget to buy a projector for the conference room. April showers might bring May flowers, but if you work in Student Affairs, they also bring bleary eyes and way too much dependence on caffeinated beverages.
In the frantic hustle and bustle of our end-of-semester lives, poet Joyce Rupp offers us a piece of prayerful advice worthy of (at least a moment of) our (already over-extended) attention: Lighten up! What does she mean by this seemingly unrealistic admonition? Take a moment (even we can spare just one!) to read her prayer below and find out for yourself…
“lighten up,” your graced voice urges,
as I dig my way deeper into the paralysis of anxiety.
Immersed in my intensity,
bludgeoned with responsibility,
I focus on the thousand items
shouting at me from their precarious perch
while I wheeze with self-pity.
your graced voice suggests
as I struggle in the net
of my desolate self-destruction.
Inundated with details and duties,
each clamoring for a morsel of my time
my life is overpopulated with expectations
while my true loves are ignored and unfed.
When did I develop the notion
that I could do it all?
When did I smugly decide that I could handle everything
without you by my side?
Slowly I become more grateful
for your strong, persistent voice
nudging me toward the laughter of letting go
and the chuckle of neglect.
from Prayers to Sophia