Step out of yourself and breathe!


As a teenager in high school I became the main baby sitter on the Sunset Road until my sister was old enough to take up the slack and we were busy most weekends while our high school friends were busy dating and dreaming of their future spouses.

Across the street from us was a family with about three children and another on the way and one evening as I was preparing to head over there I remember thinking, “Those poor kids, I’m in a terrible mood.” My trepidations flew away as soon as the children began clamoring for attention and climbing over me begging for a story or a game. This taught me early on that giving way from focusing on myself and turning my attention to others, really helped with personal sadness. When someone whose head comes just above your knees is tugging on your skirt saying “He took my dinosaur!” you realize that everything else could wait.

Before I completely accepted that my marriage was a total loss, a priest I was seeking advice from suggested that I read the psalms. That was over forty years ago and while I always intended to do that I was overwhelmed with life and other reading and simply never got around to it. One day as I was browsing around Half Price Books, the book of the Psalms with a prologue by Kathleen Norris caught my eye. I would read anything she has written and I bought the book, added it to my collection where it gathered dust for some years.

This year the time must have finally been right as I pulled the book off the shelf and read her prologue in which she recommends The King James version of the psalms because he was a poet and because in the old language, while it does not simplify the reading and is not considered inclusivist, is beautiful although a bit difficult as it is so different from our use of the language. She recommends reading the psalms aloud. I have begun the reading, one each day, aloud and they are quite good. These bits and pieces are written for every man and all circumstances and imbue a hope that good really does win out over evil.

As I popped in to the office where I work a few hours a week yesterday, I   was dismayed to hear that the youngest lady (just under 30) in our group had another of her bouts of anger and she releases her frustration by slamming things, she snapped at one of the bosses, who is a total sweetie pie. Oh no, that will not do. I have added her to my prayer list and left a copy of the St. Joseph prayer on her desk. She will not talk about whatever is eating away at her, but I am concerned that this behavior will lead to her termination from the group.

One of the Zumba instructors who was not scheduled showed up last evening to both help and to participate in the class. She was worn down with some personal sadness.

Through the week I have encountered other people with such burdens and I am sad for their personal burdens. It seems to me that many people are walking around with such balls and chains as they struggle through life.


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