Monday, July 26, 2010

Prayer #124: Friended

In four days, my roommate Sus is moving out. And when I say out, I mean OUT. As in far away, long-distance, cross-country. As in different time zones and phone calls scheduled around her new MBA class schedule. As in, dial Julia into panic mode because where will she ever find another roomie who gives words of affirmation AND eats vegetables AND alphabetizes her spice rack??

Only one year has passed since we helped Sus move in, but in that time we endured enough quarter-life crises to equal at least three mid-life crises and a stint at a seaside sanitarium.

I'm proud to report that we have slightly more intact ideas of where we want our lives to head. I'm prouder to report that our friendship stayed intact. In fact, the pajama chats, hallway hugs, and shared loved of planning may be precisely what kept our hearts and sanity intact as well.

I will send my friend off with a rooftop soiree, like so many we've shared over this transformational year. She will make a terrific student and an even better nonprofit leader when she emerges. In the meantime, I'll take advantage of her new couch and finally see the Grand Canyon. I won't worry about her (much). I will definitely miss her.

Sus -- snow days, swimming, and haircuts will not be the same without you. Thank you for being my wonderful friend.

Look Sus! Some snow for you to take with you.


Prayer #124: Friended

You may know me through and through, Lord, but You're not the one who picks up the phone or mails a card or knocks on the door to remind me of who I am.

That role is reserved for my friends, Your terra firma ambassadors, who challenge and reward me -- sometimes in the same moment. So for them, I ask:

Turn more water into wine so we can linger over it together.

Grant us stamina for long conversations and patience for radio silence.

Keep us secure, but not safe; a little dangerous thinking with partners in crime keeps the world on its toes.

And thank you for putting people in my life whose wrinkles I can imagine but will never notice, because I know they will grow old with me.

Amen.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Prayer #123: The Beast

I have a beast in my kitchen.

It's white, it's gooey, and it reeks of hooch. I feed it once a week, my arm stretched as far as it can go, nose closed again its pungent odor. It gulps up the flour and water I toss in its cage with loud, smacking, bubbly chomps.

For this beast, consumption is a science. To grow means to transform.

Have you guessed the nature of the beast yet? No, I didn't break down and get a pet -- I'm waxing poetic about my sourdough starter, gifted to me as a wedding favor from a dear friend.

Keeping sourdough "alive" for use as natural leavening requires regular feedings, steady attention, and remedial understanding of kitchen chemistry. Essentially ...

(bacteria + flour + water + air) * magic = fluffy carbs

I wonder, though, if the beast feeds off other environmental factors. Does it know when I'm stirring with anger? What if I cry in the kitchen? Can it suck stress out of the air, or fear? Will it rev up production if it senses exhaustion?

Science says that lactobacilli leads to sourdough's nominal bite. But what if the starter is taking a hit for its maker? What if it's turning sadness into comfort the only way it knows how?

Prayer #123: The Beast

The beast sat on my chest again last night.

It leaned its hairy haunches on my lungs and ground its knuckles into my eyes -- to keep its balance, it claimed, but I know it was doing it for spite.

The beast muttered and giggled the whole night. Its raspy whispers filled the inky quiet. When I tossed, the beast turned. When I sighed, it blew a raspberry.

Every time a pleasant dream crept closer, the beast batted it away. Soon, a pile collected near the bed, still fluttering, quickly fading.

I am really not fond of the beast.

So I request only this, Lord -- hold the beast back in the hallway, just for tonight. Leave my pillow free for my cheek alone. Keep my sheets untangled.

Help the peaceful dreams approach in their gentle, tender way. And let me float in them toward a resolution I can't imagine, yet must somehow realize.

Amen.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Prayer #122: Rompecabeza

Taken in Florence, Italy -- May 2010

The result of overthinking.

Prayer #122: Rompecabeza

I journaled
I dialogued
I visioned
I daydreamed
I stewed
I simmered
I bit my nails
I chewed my lip
I overshared
I buttoned up
I ate a carton of ice cream ...

But then my head exploded.

So now I have to pray,
because I exhausted
all other possibilities
and myself.

I am here
I am lost
I am Yours
Can You help?

Amen.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Prayer #121: What, Now

The great conundrum behind revelations about life, love, and personal liberty is that beaming concentrated light into one dark corner still leaves other crannies pitch-black.

Total assurance requires a personal sun. I've heard, however, that these are in short supply. Which leads me to post this simple ad:

Wanted: Complete, irrefutable knowledge of all future events/developments of personal and global nature. Can cook in exchange. Will also do windows.

Prayer #121: What, Now

I'm comparing what is to what was, what was to what will be, what will be to what might be -- and coming up with a great big pile of worry and fret and all-around suck.

But what is can exceed what was. What was is not a given harbinger of what will be. And the presumptuous certainty of what will be bows to the flexible potential of what might be.

Don't let me become the hand-wringer in the corner who always grouses, "Now what?" Make me instead the clear-eyed explorer who always asks "What now?" and strides forward, even without an answer.

For what is holds the true adventure, and the what is You.

Amen.