Go to church meeting for Sunday School parents. Theme is prayer. Thoughtful handouts suggest ways of incorporating prayer into real life everyday and suggest specific prayers to pray for your children.

A well-dressed, elderly, bent woman—Chair of the Centering Prayer Group—gives the first presentation. She rambles enthusiastically, interrupting herself with an emotional story of wayward sixteen-year-old son years upon years ago, to say that “children give us plenty of reasons to pray everyday!”

The truth of this stabs me in the heart.

Try to seem like I am not crying, only suffering from a cold—maybe even a sinus infection that is strangely affecting my eyes.

Bent Chair continues on about the powers in her own life of what used to be called a mantra when she was young (and is again at yoga studios where Catholics go instead of to church). For her, she has found “Jesus” to be a revolutionizing mantra. She demonstrates the mantra.

Ordinarily, I might have started giggling: That’s not how the mantra sounds when I use it…

But not today.

Wipe eyes. Suddenly think, “I stand here ironing. I stand here ironing.”

At home, tell Husband Number-One about Tillie Olsen epiphany and the fact that I haven’t read that story since I was an undergrad and had no clue about motherhood. Soliloquize eloquently about God at work, pointing me in the direction I am meant to go, letting me know I am not alone. Husband Number-One agrees that it is indeed a surprising mantra since he cannot remember ever seeing me iron in the past five years (at least) and is quite sure the iron is still packed away in one of the moving boxes (three years old) in the garage.

Cannot dispute this so simply invoke my mantra (“I stand here ironing.”) and determine to call him “Husband Number-One” for a little longer.

2 thoughts on “Mantra

  1. I need to go back to the Tillie Olsen. I have actually had this experience though. In-laws asked for the iron. Had to search for 30 min. Found iron packed away on a high shelf in storage where it had been for several years. Also–no mop, no sewing machine, no vacuum cleaner…and in the city, no lawn mower.

  2. Made sure I unpacked iron and stowed it conspicuously in cupboard above washing machine–where Husband Number-One will never see it, I’m sure, since someone ELSE does his laundry and where it will collect dust. Re: one of your previous posts, if there’s ONE thing you should outsource it’s dry cleaning/pressing!

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