Monday, August 30, 2010

Prayer #129: Just Beyond

seventh sense

"I totally believe in reincarnation. That's why I know people like my dad and my best friend so well -- because I've known them for generations." -- C.D.

Prayer #129: Just Beyond

I can't conceive of nothing while I'm something.
I can't imagine being blank, being non,
being anything but what You made me now.

Yet with that obit tacked up on the fridge --
a life compressed to less than 80 words --
my own mortality's on full display,
and the thought of leaving all I've ever known
is cause enough to hyperventilate.

Lord, You promise us a great beyond
in every sense -- beyond our limbs and skin,
beyond our earth, beyond our comprehension.

It seems too good, too perfect, to be true.
Cheat death and pain, yet live in constant joy?
Such magnitude of hope is staggering.

Mind you, I don't want to discover if
You're right for many decades yet to come.
But I would not mind following that hope
and finding where it leads.

That seems the best.
For now.
At least tonight, as I drift off ...

Amen.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Prayer #128: Unfair Play

Life: A Play in One Scene

The narrator sits at a rickety card table on a dark stage. One harsh light hangs overhead. An extra folding chair juts out the other side. The narrator taps the notebook in front of her, checks her watch, sighs in exasperation. Another minute passes. Then, Life saunters in.

Narrator: There you are! I've been waiting for you all night! You were supposed to be here three hours ago.

Life: (pulls out the chair, slowly sits) Sorry. I lost track of time.

Narrator: Lost track of ... lost track of time?? There's no time to waste -- people I love are sick, my friends are heartbroken, security and hope and health is disappearing all over the place --

Life: Like I said ... sorry.

Narrator: (sits down again in a huff, takes the notepad) Let's get moving. First question ... what do you propose to do about B.? She's been in the hospital two weeks and still no answers.

Life: Hmmm. Well, probably nothing.

Narrator: Excuse me?

Life: Yeah. Nothing. Sorry.

Narrator: How can you say that?? Someone is sick, maybe even dying! And you'll sit by and do nothing? How could you? Where's your mercy, your compassion?

Life: Don't know what to tell you, kid. All I promised to do was show up. I never said I would be fair.

End.

Prayer #128: Unfair Play

God, I don't believe You have a heavenly spin-the-wheel printed with our 6 billion names that You turn once a day to find out who gets to suffer.

But with the way life plays out, in all its tragedy, coincidence, and straight-up bad luck, I have to ask: Is there any way You can intervene without stepping on our free will?

Because if so, please do it. Now.

Don't leave us begging for miracles at a chilly, empty altar. Match our impotence with Your omnipotence. Share whatever tools You can, be it a counselor's wise comfort, a surgeon's deft hands, or a friend's consoling ear.

I accept that life is not fair. But I will not accept that You are not here.

Amen.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Prayer #127: On Empty

"Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think." --Robert Henri

Prayer #127: On Empty

I praise You, God, for an emptied mind.

The situation was dire before You intervened. Jotted notes bled into an undecipherable puddle of ink. Crumpled Post-Its clogged the pipes. Reminders, suggestions, options, edicts -- all jockeyed for position at my top of mind and threw elbows so pointy and sharp that I think I lost some gray matter in the melee.

But thanks to naps, tides, books, and other holy stillnesses, all those nagging, nattering nothings are back on their shelves, where they will pout and rattle their vials but dare not come closer.

Such is Your restoration of a beleaguered brain. I am a blackboard wiped clean, sponge marks still drying across it. Quick! Write what You want me to know, before my own words break free again.

Amen.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Italian Mother Syndrome now on Alltop!

Magazine rack.

Pardon this interruption from our normal IMS programming -- I just wanted to share that this little corner of the universe is now listed on Alltop under Top Religious News. Whee!

For those of you unfamiliar with this service, Alltop lets you create a 'personal, online magazine rack' of your favorites sites, blogs, news sources, etc. (Check out MyAlltop to set up an account if you're interested.) And I may be a little starstruck because Guy Kawasaki started it, and I heart Guy Kawasaki.

So, this is all to say that if you enjoy the spiritual bent of IMS, you will likely find other cool writers and thinkers you dig at religion.alltop.com. All faiths, beliefs, or lack thereof are represented, so give 'em some facetime and see how others are searching for God in our wired world.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Prayer #126: For Good Reason

"Today was my grandmother's birthday, so to celebrate, she and my grandfather went to look at their gravesites, and then they went to Olive Garden." -- Jacob

Prayer #126: For Good Reason

Uncork that special bottle of wine now, for what's worth celebrating more than this moment in time?

Join me on the dance floor, shoes tossed under the rented table, so we can sway offbeat.

Hold my hand on a stroll through a darkening town this late summer night.

Wing a postcard (or seven) across the miles to include me in your adventure.

Giggle with me behind a cupped hand and keep my happy secrets until the time is right.

Thank You for the breathtaking reminder that my days here, though limited, run deep. And though it may be more than I can take, I also ask You this:

Dive into the glimmering pool with me.

Take me leagues beyond what I feel today.

May we never reach the bottom.

Amen.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Prayer #125: This End Up

Photo by mrbill

Prayer #125: This End Up

Caution. Fragile. Handle with care.

I see these labels and spring into ginger mode. I am as gentle as baby shampoo. The items inside don't fear me; I know exactly how to treat them.

Which leads me to question, God ... why aren't You being as gentle with me right now? I am a person, a soul, so much more than a cardboard box. And while I'd look pretty stupid if I wrapped myself in postal tape and wrote"This End Up!" on my forehead with Sharpie, I'm starting to think that's the only thing that will remind You not to tip me over and shake me around.

So I'm asking one favor, knowing somewhere in the back of my heart that a good shake might be exactly what You're aiming for. Whatever You're packing or unpacking in my soul right now, please go gently so that I can stick it out with You. I want to be in one piece when we get there -- wherever there is.

Amen.