Readers of this blog have noticed that I am constantly working towards a life of balance. My work demands have increased radically in the past year, while I still have the other elements of my life competing for attention: friends, family, teaching, other interests. I'm also still committed to my vision of being an artist. Underlying it all, a spiritual self that needs feeding, a relationship with the Divine that needs attention.
It's a lot to juggle. But as I said yesterday, I surround myself with models of women who manage, and often with more balls to keep in the air, like children. I remind myself that I'm in a very good time and location in the history of women. I have less working against me than a medieval woman. As a white woman from a middle class family, I've had lots of opportunities and support that others haven't had.
Still, there are days that I despair. And then I go back to those medieval monastics.
A few years ago, as I was researching Saint Brigid for her feast day, a poem came to me. It's just been published in Adanna, and I'm happy to repost it here. If you want some background on Brigid, see this blog post.
The True Miracle of Saint Brigid
You know about the baskets
of butter, the buckets of beer,
the milk that flowed
to fill a lake.
You don’t know about the weeks
we prayed for the miracle
of multiplication but instead received
the discipline of division.
I managed the finances to keep us all fed.
By day, I rationed the food.
At night, I dreamed of a sculpture
manufactured of metal.
I didn’t have the metal
or the time, but in the minutes
had, I illuminated
any scrap of paper I could find.
Lost to the ashes:
The Book of Kildare, but also
my budget ledgers, flowers
and birds drawn around the numbers.
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