Monday, September 27, 2010

Prayer #133: Come Out, Come Out, Whoever You Are

"Be who you are and be that well." -- St. Francis de Sales

Prayer #133: Come Out, Come Out, Whoever You Are

We are made in Your image and likeness.

Does this mean You have eyelashes and a tendency to bite Your nails? Probably not.

Does this mean You are every color and no color, each creed and any creed, both sex and sexuality? Getting warmer.

Does this mean You contain the spectrum of human possibility at its best and finest? Definitely.

Which means this works the other way, too. Are we omnipotent and omniscient, aware of what's churning in our fellow humans' hearts? Eh, not so much.

Do our infinite permutations bump up against finite understanding? Closer yet.

Are we 6 billion refractions of You, with more courage, compassion, and capacity to love within us than we will ever grasp and fulfill? Bingo.

Lord, be with those who are learning about themselves yet afraid to share that self-knowledge with others for fear of rejection, reproach, and recrimination. Be with those who are angry and confused for reasons they cannot name; help them comprehend and accept.

Remind us all that You had so much love in Your being that You poured it into us to keep from exploding. Help us draw on that well now -- eros, philia, and above all, agape -- to welcome all refractions and complete Your prism.

Amen.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Prayer #132: Missed Call

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Prayer #132: Missed Call

Sorry Lord, can't hear You.
Too much traffic behind me.
My battery is dying.
I'm caught in a wind tunnel.

What You hear from me:
Too much choice in front of me.
My faith is flickering.
I'm trapped in indecision.


God of the infinite switchboard, stay on the line until I hear You. Discernment sits at the intersection of wisdom and honesty; help me find my way there, and then we'll talk some more.

Amen.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Prayer #131: Pastability

A nest of fettuccine, handmade in my kitchen!

I will never eat dry pasta out of a box the same way again. I have nothing against the mass-manufactured gluten sticks -- they do in a pinch -- but I have now made pasta in my own kitchen among friends on a cool day, and I cannot go back.

We covered the kitchen island, our hands, and our aprons in unbleached flour. The sauce bubbled behind us on the stove, tempting us with perfumed steam every time we went to stir, with meatballs peeking around the wooden spoon.

When the dough rested, so did we with sips of afternoon wine. Machines had no part in our day; every New Jersey-shaped sheet and wobbly cut was rolled and sliced by hand. Our appetites grew along with the nests on the baking sheets. The salted water couldn't boil fast enough.

Though we had chatted our way through all the dough mounds and pot lids, our table fell silent when we finally raised our forks. The moment of truth was al dente, saucy, chock-full of late summer herbs, and imbued with the filling satisfaction of having sung for our supper.

Perfectly made does not necessarily mean perfect-tasting. Popping open a jar of sauce and hitting buttons on the microwave feeds only my body. Friends do not laugh over the pasta I buy in boxes.

I am ruined.

Prayer #131: Pastability

Just as dough rests, with future shapes and plates a mystery, so I wait for You to knead me. Work on me until I no longer resist, until I am pliant and responsive.

Then work through my hands, imperfect as their owner, but willing to execute what the brain dictates and the heart demands. Lend Your strength to what I knead as well, so I have something to contribute to the boiling pot before it evaporates into a vision of what might have been.

Only then can I add chairs and silverware and invite others to join me, for only then will I truly nourish them. Satisfy this need in me, and we can feed the world.

Amen.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Prayer #130: Labor of Love

"Bart, with $10,000, we'd be millionaires! We could buy all kinds of useful things like ... love!" -- Homer Simpson

Prayer #130: Labor of Love

Half-metered sonnets, un-scored symphonies, paintings still wet, strings of screenplay quotes, a thousand stellar ideas that haven't seen the light of day ... these expressions of love all clatter in my head, wishing to testify to a greater, more mysterious truth but lacking the courage.

Coax it out, You say. It does the world no good left unsaid, undone. But what if these revelations vanish when the light hits them? What will be left to me then?

Help me trust their integrity. Help me believe in my own lucidity. And help me see that love has its own backbone, sturdy and beautiful, that it happily drapes with our stumbling words and deeds because then it can go out in public and be recognized, even in its imperfection.

Amen.