from Anne Morrow Lindbergh's "Gifts from the Sea"
With a new awareness, both painful and humorous, I begin to understand why the saints were rarely married women. I am convinced it has nothing inherently to do, as I once supposed, with chastity or children. It has to do primarily with distractions. The bearing, rearing, feeding and educating of children; the running of a house with its thousand details; human relationships with their myriad pulls--woman's normal occupations in general run counter to creative life, or contemplative life, or saintly life. The problem is not merely one of Woman and and Career, Woman and the Home, Woman and Independence. It is more basically: how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life; how to remain balanced, no matter what centrifugal forces tend to pull one off center; how to remain strong, no matter what shocks come in at the periphery and tend to crack the humb of the wheel...
But how? Total retirement is not possible. I cannot shed my responsibilities...I cannot be a nun in the midst of family life. I would not want to be. The solution for me, surely, is neither in total renunciation of the world, nor in total acceptance of it. I must find a balance somewhere, or an alternating rhythm between these two extremes; a swinging of the pendulum between solitude and communion, between retreat and return...
It is a difficult lesson to learn today--to leave one's friends and family and deliberately practice the art of solitude for an hour or a day or a week....For me, the break is the most difficult....And yet, once it is done, I find there is a quality to being alone that is incredibly precious. Life rushes back into the void, richer, more vivid, fuller than before.
(as quoted by Sarah Ban Breathnach in "Simple Abundance")
I found this quite inspiring and comforting at the same time. Moving me beyond where I am and offering me hope that others have been here and have found their way through.