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At a lector training this past weekend, as part of our contemplation and immersion in the Word, the facilitator exhorted us to "stop a few times a day" to pray.
"Prayers," she said, "are reminders that God is."
God is. Full stop. No adjective. No noun. No active participle. Just a state of being: is.
At that point, it was 11 a.m. and I was on my second of five activities for the day -- up early with the baby and my visiting parents, lector training in the morning, friend's baby shower in the afternoon, early dinner with my in-laws, food shopping that night. So I was already tired, both from activity and anticipation. Tired enough to want to heed the call to pause, but stretched enough to resent having one more thing to do.
Ever one to encounter revelation through syntax, however, I appreciated this simple sentence because it left God on God's own terms. It did not attempt to ground the divine in human metaphors or place our relationship in earthly frameworks. God just gets to be God, I just get to be me, and somehow we'll meet in the middle for a companionable cup of tea.
How easy then to pray. How easy to ask questions of God, to co-celebrate, to release my grip. How easy to stop in the middle of a teeming sidewalk, spin the opposite direction, and find myself grinning at the sensation of the world rushing past, for in that moment of suspension God joins me, closer than my own breath, happy to be noticed, happy to be.
Prayer #336: A Gentle Reminder
Do stop and rest a moment
not to talk
not to plan
just to be still
just to breathe
for in the space between inhale and exhale,
the catch that signals life suspended,
you'll know me
in my truest way.