“The motto was ‘Pax’, but the word was set in a circle of thorns. Pax: peace, but what a strange peace, made of unremitting toil and effort, seldom with a seen result; subject to constant interruptions, unexpected demands, short sleep at nights, little comfort, sometimes scant food; beset with disappointments and usually misunderstood, yet peace all the same, undeviating, filled with joy and gratitude and love. “It is My own peace I give unto you.” Not, notice, the world’s peace.”
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These are the opening lines to Rumer Godden's book In This House of Brede, which I have begun reading again. We used to write to Rumer in our home schooling days, and she received our family newsletter Mother Earth Press. Always, she wrote back. She was very encouraging about what we were doing with our children, and each time she would say something kind about "mother" because she knew it was a heap of work, and important work. I will never forget her kindness.
How her words come back to me now. The quote refers to the life of a Benedictine nun, cloistered to be a "prayer powerhouse." Yet, even then, it made me think of the work of being a mother. Rumer once gave me permission to use her quote with a sketch I did, as a Christmas gift. I am better because of her thoughtful books, and because of the depth of the person she was and shared.