Monday, June 28, 2010

Prayer #120: Both Frightened and Free

All that we have and all that we offer
Comes from our hearts both frightened and free
Take what we bring now and give what we need ...

-- All That We Have

Prayer #120: Both Frightened and Free

Self-awareness is a sharp blade -- it slices me fast, cuts me deep, delays the pain. But when the blood does come ... watch out.

How easy to slip behind that red, translucent curtain, upset that I've hurt someone, shamed because I knew better, and embarrassed because I wasn't strong enough to stop myself.

Obscured there, I can indulge in a little self-flagellation, which makes me feel productive yet avoids actually solving the problem.

Thank goodness You don't let me hide inside my head. Thank heavens You pull me out protesting, plop me down in front of responsibility, and say, "Your turn." And thank God You forgive.

So I do not ask you to dull my self-awareness. Without it, I could not perform the daily personal surgeries that keep my relationships healthy, my transgressions contained, and my heart intact.

I only ask that You give me just a scrap of Your ability to forgive, so that I can heal myself as well and move forward -- freer.

Amen.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Prayer #119: Sol Patch

1. "Sol + stice derives from a combination of Latin words meaning "sun" + "to stand still." As the days lengthen, the sun rises higher and higher until it seems to stand still in the sky."

2. "The Summer Solstice was thought to be a time of magic. If evil spirits appeared, then they were thwarted by a plant called 'chase-devil.' Today, this plant is known as St. John's Wort, and it is used as a mood stabilizer."

3. "The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve;
Lovers, to bed; 'tis almost fairy time."
A Midsummer Night's Dream, 5. 1

Prayer #119: Sol Patch

Summer brings its own hot madness, makes you sticky, catches you between restless and reckless.

Summer blinds you with too much light. What should be illuminated washes out instead, and the dark corners you so carefully guard stay just as hidden as before.

But when the celestial hinge squeaks just right, and a scorching run of hours rushes the earth, you are left with little choice: Turn your face to what you've shoved aside, and burn those corners with insistent fire.

Lord, if the sun in its endless swing can stand still for a day and survey its universe, then surely I can stand still for a moment and examine my conscience. And for that purpose alone, let me join the sun at that slim point above the horizon where it does not rise, does not set, but simply watches, eager to catch truth through the dancing flames.

Amen.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Prayer #118: In the Wee Small Hours

I consider myself a pretty disciplined person, except in one area: my snooze button.

No matter how late it makes me, no matter how much I need to get up and write/go to the gym/do chores, I can't resist thumping that button, for each whack brings a blissful 10 minutes of extra sleep.

But once or twice a week, timing and willpower do unite, and I'm able to arise at 6 a.m. like the morning person I am. (No really, I am. I'm just a morning person who requires 8 hours of sleep.)

These mornings mean two hours of pure quiet. The household is deep in REM. No one needs the washer. No one wants the TV. No one has questions to ask me. On these mornings I listen to the world wake up around me and urge it to take its time -- no need to rush into the hurried day.

Once or twice a week, I know peace. Which makes me wonder: Why do I hit the snooze button at all?

Prayer #118: In the Wee Small Hours

You are the morning dove, gentle and gray.
You are the pale sun, easing over the roof.
You are the empty street, devoid of honks.
You are the dim house, only one lamp lit.
You are the cluttered desk, biding your time.
You are the cool pillow, dented by sleep.
You are the rumpled bed, where dreams linger on.
You are the bird chatter, the trash can clatter.
You are the sighing. The listening. The emerging.
You are the waking.
You awake.

Amen.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Prayer #117: One-Two-Three, One-Two-Three ...

Know why I didn't hit it big in amateur ballroom dancing (and yes, some people do hit it big in amateur ballroom dancing)? I have trouble letting my partners lead. And I have two left feet, but it was mainly the leading.

Here's what ran through my head every time someone led me onto the dance floor:

Oh goody, a partner! He's kinda old, but I bet he's got the moves. Huh, his head comes up to my boobs. Interesting. Oooh, fox trot time. I'm gonna lock this shiznit DOWN. One-two-three, one-two ... that's not it. I don't think this guy can hear the music. That hearing aid is the size of Rhode Island. Maybe I can guide him a little bit to the left, get him on rhythm ... ok, nix that, different tactic. Stop looking at my boobs, old man! Maybe if I refuse to do something, he'll be forced to change his footsteps ... nope, foiled again. Note to self: Do not wear push-up bras to these functions. Maybe we can salvage this foxtrot yet. One-two-three, one-two-three ... oh. Wait. It's a waltz.

My ultimate solution to learning how to cede complete control was to drop out of ballroom dancing and not learn it at all. Which is a shame, because I could really use that skill this June, seeing as Fella has come to DC for the month.

Yes, the long distance has become immediate. This means meals together, face-to-face conversations, and no goodbyes at the airport 48 hours after we say hello. But it also means adjustment, compromise, and no goodbyes at the airport 48 hours after we say hello.

There's no way to escape the dance floor. No sweeping issues under the rug we're trying to cut. If he's stepping on my feet, or I'm pulling him in the wrong direction, we have to deal with it in real time.

It was easy to leave the little old men behind and disappear into a crowd. But a good partner -- the type of partner who becomes the strongest dancer -- stays to practice. And practice. And practice some more.

So I will. Music please!

Prayer #117: One-Two-Three, One-Two-Three ...

Dear God,

It's come to my attention that You've been trying to lead me. I appreciate the effort, but You can let it rest. I much prefer to run my own supremely powerful (albeit little) universe and bend others to my will. So really, put Your feet up and take a break. I got this one.

Love,
Me

---

Dear You,

Ok. How has that been going for you? Making any headway? I'd love some tips.

Love,
God


---

Dear God,

Umm, not so great, actually. Turns out that other people don't respond to mind control. I actually have to talk to them and make my feelings known and listen to what they're thinking. Frankly, I don't know how You do it with so many people. It's hard.

That being said, would you mind taking one more on?

Love,
Me

---

Dear You,

Of course! Thought you'd never ask. Let's go.

Love,
God



-- Amen.