I survived my teenage years by reading the psalms. In the laments, especially, I found fellow-travelers along the road of disorientation, rejection, and loneliness. The not-belonging feeling of adolescence sees to me akin to exile. It was for me, anyway: I fit neither in childhood nor in adulthood, and the road I traveled seemed dark indeed.

Little did I know then that the psalms have done for centuries precisely that work they did for me. When I read them, or (as I more often did) copied them out, I prayed along with the church. No wonder, then, that when I stumbled into a Benedictine monastery in July 2010, I felt marvelously at home. I read Benedict’s Rule that first weekend, and found a place for my soul to rest. When it was time to go back home, I was reluctant to leave.

Yet leave I did, of necessity: my husband and children needed me. Since that first visit, though, I have tried to use Benedict’s wisdom in my daily life, my family life. His description of the qualities of the abbot and instructions to the cellarer inspire and guide me. I visit the monastery as often as I can, but I know that for me the school for the Lord’s service is here, at home. This blog is a place for thinking out loud about the joys and challenges of being a contemplative theologian called to the work of motherhood.

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