Prayer for a Summer Wednesday

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I pray a prayer of celebration today for a joyful wedding anniversary in our family. Twenty years ago no one could have imagined or anticipated the over-arching health, love and creative children that have grown in this marriage, open and inclusive to the welfare of others. My prayer is one of deep gratitude and hope for continued shaping a life of love together.

I prayer a prayer of lament today for an unwelcome diagnosis for another in the family. No one could have imagined or anticipated this invasion into a healthy life, and even now we don’t know what it means, what it will look like, where the journey will take us. My prayer is first, that God in mercy will continue the healing toward wholeness already begun, and that each of us will know how to participate in that healing, through tears, laughter and love.

I prayer a prayer of urgent petition for peace and justice today for this country, buffeted about in division and question about where truth can be found. No one could have imagined or anticipated this liminal place in which we wake every day to new surprise, and can’t count on things that were true yesterday being the same today. My prayer is that people of great compassion and will speak truth to power, speak the truth in love, and know when to speak and when to keep silence for the healing of all people.

I pray a prayer for  an awareness Holy Presence–in me through the frustrations of technology, through the quotidian mysteries of caring for my dwelling and the people in it, through the extroversion I adopt to go out to meet people, through the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart as I listen to the One standing behind me, saying “This is the way, walk in it.”  I could not have imagined or anticipated that at this point in my life, this would be a day on which I found myself, living in light and darkness simultaneously, trying to navigate a clear path between mundane and epic concerns, living intentionally and consciously, sorting out what things have my name on them and what things to let go.

But this is the day that the Spirit has made…I pray to rejoice, to weep, to do good, love mercy and walk humbly with whomever I encounter…for God’s sake!

 

 

Wrapped in Silence

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I was encompassed in silence, a gift I chose that was offered by my church, a six hour retreat on a Saturday morning. The all-purpose room was set side for sacred use–a circle of chairs, a library of books, a table of fresh food, a labyrinth laid out, a cozy room with overstuffed chairs, tables for writing and coloring and then an empty sanctuary, with an icon of Christ surrounded by candles, awaiting to be lit in prayer.  After the opening instructions and a reading from the pastor, we spent our next hours in silence.

My routine life is not very noisy. My husband and I don’t create much sound daily as we patter through our retirement ways of being. The loudest eruption is the dog as he tries to keep us safe from post-people and squirrels. Yet there is the hum of appliances, the whoosh of delivery trucks, the ringing of phones, even ones stopped by “nomorobo!” More incessant are the chirps and hums inside me, reminding me it is time to pay a bill, put laundry in the dryer, check on the neighbor down the street. Left to my own devices, I find it hard to enter into Silence. However, dropping into the retreat on Saturday, after I was welcomed warmly by those I knew even slightly, I could rest in the container created for me by the committee–the place, the nourishment, the prompts, the opportunities. It was pure Grace!

I began by breathing, attending to my breath, checking in with my body, and then walking the labyrinth, a tool for prayer that has delighted and served me well for many years in many places. In the deliberateness of the pace, I could recognize the clutter which needed release, listen for a Word coming to me to shape the day, and then I could begin to integrate that Word with what was ahead of me.

After that walk I sat down with my journal and began to note all that was coming up and where my prayers and reflections might go throughout the hours we were in silence. I listened deeply to the sacred text with which we were introduced to the day, gave thanks that I was beloved of God and that angels attended me, even in wilderness. I did some reading in Christine Valters Paintner’s book Wisdom of the Body, which has been my teacher in this Easter and Pentecost season. I spent time in gratitude for all the joy and blessing in my life. I spent time in lament for the losses of which I am so keenly aware–in my own body and experience, in the leaving of those I love, in my anxiety for the frailty of particular persons and the world.

In the stained glass lighting of the sanctuary I felt free to pour out my heart about things unknown ahead of me, for those whose need seem far beyond my capacity to touch, for the broknen-ness of people and systems. I lighted candles for some at the very top of my awareness, even now living with pain and fear.

I was nourished with healthy food, silently companioning others when they chose to sit with me in silence for lunch. Bread for the journey!

My heart turned toward a primary ministry I have now, a group of women who have met together for 10 years. Where are we being led? Who will keep on with us? Can we let go of those who move on? And how does our aging and growing shape what we do? What are we being invited to reflect on in the year ahead?

After the hours of prayer and reflection went by, I came to a place of rest. Sitting comfortably with my eyes closed, I savored in gratitude what had been provided for me in this day. I recognized that my soul was satisfied as with a great feast by having this opportunity to be in the presence of others, yet in silence given the space, time and awareness to hear the voice of the Holy to come to me in particular–for such a time as this!

I am deeply grateful for this time in which I was able to come apart and rest with the Holy in the presence of others on the journey. Savoring. Thankful. A full heart!

Personal photo from St John’s Cathedral, Denver. (not from my home church)

 

 

 

 

 

Come. Holy Spirit

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Come. Holy Spirit! Today we celebrate your presence in our lives, in the Church and in the world.

I pray to meet you in the depth of my heart where I am so prone to fear and anxiety, so quick to forget that I am committed to Hope, to Love, intending to believing and acting on the principle that “all will be well, all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.”

I pray to let you heal me–body and spirit–of those wounds and scars that are left over from old memories, early traumas and the hurts and slights that keep popping up in the course of my daily rounds.

I pray to feel your energy surging in my recovering body, in my brain that too often forgets things these days, in my praying spirit that bogs down with the enormity and complexity of this sad world.

I pray to allow your wildness keep opening my heart to finding ways when there seems to be no way, to taking in the most unlikely ones who cross my path, to putting the resources I have to the healing of the fragments of this world where I can make a difference, however small.

I pray for the wounds of so many in so many places, with its accompanying fear that we can’t know where terror will break out next. I pray that You will keep up Your powerful attack on the minds and wills of those who are heartless, greedy and self-serving only, and transform their hearts to ones of compassion and caring. 

I pray for Your Presence in the created world, that as it struggles to survive and thrive, you will teach me how to cooperate with that healing, with Your power to give me words and actions that will preserve and respect the beauty and sustainability of Earth’s resources.

I pray for Your Wisdom for all people of faith as they wrestle to know how to be observant of their commitment to You in times and events that are muddy and messy.

I pray that You, Holy Healer, will touch the bodies and spirits and minds of those who suffer, and where there is despair, replace it with hope and peace.

And for all those areas for which I have words but can’t get them out, and for those things deep inside me for which I have no words, Spirit, turn them into creative and cogent expressions of my heart to the Holy–for what is loving. joyful, peaceful, kind and generous, and faithful in my walking and talking, singing and dancing, working and giving, hoping and living each day with imagination, energy and love.

Come, Holy Spirit, Come!

 

 

 

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Giving the Right Gifts

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for John, Dalton, Sean, Erica Lee, Ezra, Erica Brooke,  (and the March and Fall Celebrants too!)

This Eastertide season (slightly extended) this year is the most intense season of celebrations in our family: 3 anniversaries, three birthdays, a graduation, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, all in a matter of a few weeks. This year there are several banner occasions: 75th birthday and 20th anniversary and high school graduation, not to be taken lightly. And I, as the Cheerleader of Celebrations, get twisted up in giving just the right gift to each one for each occasion, the Perfect Thing!

Of course, out of my wrestling comes the realization that there is no “Perfect Thing” that can be given to each and every beloved one each and every time. Sacred text tells me that the only perfect gifts are given by God. Nevertheless, I keep trolling magazines and websites for ideas that suit the recipient, the stage of life, the need and my checkbook. There is not shortage of wonderful ideas and possibilities out there. It is not for lack of possibilities that I get stuck.

It is my ego-need where I get bogged down; I want my gifts to make the person I love respond with glee, gratitude and to be overwhelmed with this memorable and grace-filled present. No wonder I get jammed up! So it is with relief that I encounter and begin to appropriate the Jewish concept of mitzvah, giving a gift, according to some sources, for the good of someone else without expectation of reciprocity, notice or thanks. WELL! That re-frame the entire endeavor!

I have recalled many of the gifts given in Hebrew and Christian scripture: Joseph’s coat of many colors, the Queen of Sheba’s contributions to Solomon’s coffers, the expensive perfume with which Mary Magdalene anointed the feet of Jesus, the apostle Peter confronting the man who was lame from birth with these words: “Silver and gold have I none, but what I have I give you,” and he lifts the man up to full standing mobility. All of them are gifts that have complications in relationships, so I am not the first giver to be bemused in my giving.

What I am am being invited to do in this season of celebration and remembering is to open myself to each honoree–to see him as he really is, to listen to her conversation that gives me clues as to what she longs for, to be willing to share part of my own spirit of love and hope for him, to do what I can, and to let the results and reactions be whatever they are, no harm, no foul, no expectations—just open heart and open hand from me.

I read in 2 Corinthians that “God loves a cheerful giver,” and the corollary to that is the Holy One is able to provide me, the giver with “every blessing in abundance, so that I may always have enough of everything…” So I can go about the business of gift giving without anxiety, knowing that I will have what I need to celebrate my loved one–and others–with joy, with freedom, with trust and delight, despite the price tag, the competition with the other grandparents, the fear of rejection. It’s how I give, not what I give that makes the difference. And my heart is full of love for each and very one, with gratitude for what he and she have brought to me and our family, and with hope that what I offer will be a token of that love and gratitude for each one.

And I can give each gift with a blessing. My late friend Rabbi Sheryl Lewart in her book Blessings for Life’s Journey, gives me some words:

May you feel embraced, enfolded anew by the miracle of your being. May you find the deep purpose of your soul loved and cherished into becoming who you are meant to be… May you be a source of holiness for others, May you treasure and develop your uniqueness and be a blessing to all you meet. Amen.

 

 

 

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Seasoning Eastertide!

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I was deeply disappointed last Sunday, Easter Day, when I was felled by a vicious 5 day cold that knocked me so flat that, for my sake and the welfare of the community I could neither join a worshiping congregation, nor serve a festive dinner to my family. All the elements of Easter baskets are lying unopened in the grocery bag, the cards are unwritten, and the one lily is languishing. I became very heartened, however, when I realized that in the liturgical calendar in some traditions Eastertide is 50 days, not just One Big Day! So I have time, time to celebrate and rejoice, time to ponder the gospel accounts of the post-Resurrection accounts of Jesus life with his friends, and especially to notice where Easter is happening, where new life is springing forth, where the signs of hope and Light are evident for the fist time or recurring again.

The seasoning of Easter keeps coming day after day even in this first week after the celebration day. I have heard a story of someone completely bereft who suddenly received comfort after it seemed like there was no comfort to be had. I witnessed hope and energy take root in one who had been mired in despair for months, but who now had a sense of agency and power to keep moving toward hope. I was present when a group of friends gathered, bringing with them the predictable crises of their separate lives, and as they reflected on the love demonstrated in resurrection and the promise of new life, the joy and grace between them deepened, widened and hope was palpable, despite the incessant toll of Awful Things in the lives of our world.

So I am looking around for the Season of Easter with vigilance and scrutiny during this Eastertide, these remaining 44 days. I have already heard of a new job, a mended friendship, a lifting of dullness, an easing of conflict, and I am witnessing acts of mercy and justice all around me in the neighborhood, in the Church and in the world.

So I ask how I can contribute to this new life that we celebrated last Sunday. Paying attention is my primary practice–the the salesperson the barrista, the server, the mail carrier. Each of them is worthy of receiving the Light of Easter, even if it is just a warm and attentive exchange over business. I am also aware that there are places that need care where I must to be present–in person, by phone or by e-mail; all I have to bring is my presence and my hope. To give advice is not nearly as alive and joyful an Easter flavor as it is to show up in some way. I am also hoping to stretch out to give what the Jewish traditions calls mitzvahs, those acts of hospitality and grace in which there is no possibility of payback or reciprocity. I feel as if the seasoning in my own heart in celebrating Easter once again replenishes me for that kind of extension and effort.

My garden, blooming to beat the band, with new surprises every morning, is the tangible prompt to me to be receiving and giving the seasoning of Easter right now. Every morning I look for a new blossom! In our journey the dying is not the last word; there is new life after death. And as long as I am alive, whether or not I can get to the Big Band celebrations of Easter Day or not, I can use these days of Eastertide to take in the glory and the power of Christ’s resurrection, and then to sprinkle and spice all these gifts that new life brings–love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, and gentleness–while I do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with the Risen One.

 

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Holy Week

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(written for the Lenten Reflection book of Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church, San Francisco)

Holy Week Begins and Ends

Matthew 21: 1-11 and Matthew 27: 11-54

The story arc of the week is dramatic. It begins in grassroots delight as Jesus rides into Jerusalem amidst the crowds cheering, a parade that seems so hopeful and promising. It ends in cowardly and cruel crucifixion of the One that had been celebrated just six days before. Light and darkness in one short week.

So much of our lives consist of the juxtaposition of Light and Darkness. We want to live as children of the Light, but so much Darkness clutters the landscape on a regular basis. A refund check arrives in the same mail as an outstanding bill. A bitter confrontation with a co-worker is followed by as affirming encounter with someone in the community. A crushing election result coexists with an energizing onrush of those who are called and willing to resist, to work for justice and mercy for all. The Holy One is present in all of it.

Janet Morley in her wonderful litany, “For the Darkness of Waiting,” writes:

For the darkness of waiting

       of not knowing what is to come

       of staying ready and quiet and attentive,

       we praise you O God

 

       For the darkness and the light

       are both alike to you.                 (All Desires Known, 1988)

What we witness in Jesus in these texts is that he remained aware of the Mystery we call God both in Light and in the Dark. Whether he was being celebrated or reviled, he never forgot that he belonged to God, and that he was navigating this journey accompanied by the Holy.

I can lose sight of that connection, sometimes in great elation, when I think it is all about me and my wonderfulness; or in great pain and grief, when I lose hope that it will ever end. Jesus walks in Mystery with persistence and grace.

In this Holy Week

-where do I see God’s presence in the celebrations and successes in my life? Do I remember to look?

-how do I witness Holy Presence in times of excruciating pain and disappointment?

-can I learn to trust in the darkness of waiting that in Mystery the Light will shine?

Janet Morley prays:

For the darkness of hoping

       in a world that longs for you,

       for the wrestling and the laboring of all creation

       for wholeness and justice and freedom,

       we praise you O God.

 

       For the darkness and the light

       Are both alike to you.

 

 

 


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50 Years: All That…and So Many Surprises!

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This week I celebrate 50 years of marriage to my husband. I never imagined a fiftieth wedding anniversary. In fact marriage as it has evolved has been as much of a surprise as it was a hope.

I could not have imagined 50 years ago that each of us would have had the variety of callings that we each have had, separately and together. Nowhere on the horizon did I see rock climbing and kayaking, art history and critique, global standards and values education as passions and career trajectories for my husband. I could not have imagined what bearing and raising children would be like for me, nor my own calls to Ministry of Word and Sacrament, seminary teaching and spiritual direction. The possibility of all those threads of our individual lives being woven into a whole could have seemed fanciful and daunting to me were I have to known how we would unfold.

I imagined that we would grow in the same directions emotionally, spiritually and in interests. While that has been true in some ways, more often we have developed differing points of view, different vocabulary, different habits of the heart, and the work has been how to let those differences continue the dialogue between us in respect and love. In some of those 50 years the differences have felt like challenges, in others like complementary perspectives. I have been surprised at how rich it has been to live and act in a household where speaking our truth in love has brought energy and Light to each other and to those around us.

Children have both enriched and schooled us. Our families of origin with their ways of seeing and acting were not completely adequate for our call to parenting, especially in a milieu of a rapidly changing and technological society in a global world. We could not fall back on old adages and precepts any more than we could use all of our mother’s recipes that used ingredients no longer made. So we were adult parents seeking the ways of child nurture for ourselves and offspring, seemingly without a net. We presumed on the mercy of God over and over–when we disagreed, when we failed, when we did not have a clue, when we were disappointed, and when we were surprised by joy, which is where we find ourselves now as parents and grandparents, getting ready to celebrate this summer as an entire family.

It seems as if the overriding theme in these years has been Grace: God’s grace to us as creatures, God’s grace in directing us to each other (which at one time seemed unlikely!), and our own learning to be Grace-full and Gracious, in times of extremity, sickness and health, times of scarcity and times of plenty, times of grayness and times of sunshine. We have been give enormous graces of education, of meaningful work, of health care, of loving friends and communities, of opportunity to travel, of deep conversation, of being Light-bearers where we find ourselves.

And now we are living in the Grace of Growing old together. We look at our wedding picture on the wall and wonder who those young people are. We resemble them, but we are so much more: wiser, we hope; more compassionate, we think; more elastic, we notice, both in waistline and acceptance of others. We want to be more transparent, more loving, more delighted and delightful! And it is Grace that is helping us find our way.

One our wall since the first decade of our marriage is this quotation from philosopher, Stanley Cavell:

Only those can genuinely marry who are already married. It is as though you know you are married when you cannot divorce, that is when you find your lives simply will not disentangle. If your love is lucky, this knowledge will be greeted with laughter.

Our mouths are filled with laughter as we celebrate! Grace has brought us safely through these 50 years! We are grateful!

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Points of Sorrow: Valleys and Shadows

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I have been comforted on my Lenten journey to encounter Holy Presence in signs and detours and delight. However, I am deeply aware that I am also daily faced with other phenomena: valleys–of the shadow of death, of dry bones, of tears; and of depths–sorrow, fears and despair. I am of that era in my life where news of death, of troubling diagnoses, of unbearable losses are so regular that they are almost routine. Not a day goes by without another request for prayer–for the world, for the nation, for the Church, and for people who are loved and cherished. And so I travel the Lenten way on a road of mourning as well as rejoicing.

The “valley of the shadow of death” becomes more real to me each year. I have been helped greatly by reading the two volumes by Marilyn Chandler McEntryre for those traveling in that valley, those who are facing death themselves, A Faithful Farewell,
and for those losing someone they love, A Long Letting Go. The author herself, no stranger to grief, gives some perspective, some comfort and some practical helps is the process of mourning:

To mourn is to open ourselves to comfort, which is a unique dimension of love. To mourn is to make our sorrow hospitable to those who are willing to enter into it…Our work is to accept the sorrow, to live it, to suffer it, and finally in humility to let it be drenched in the healing waters of love that come to us from as many sources as we allow–great wells of it, great waves of it, and daily infusions from old friends and from strangers who may be angels sent to walk us through the valley of the shadow. (A Long Letting Go,pp. 84-85)

Part of my Lenten journey is to do this work of mourning, on behalf of those whom I have lost, and on behalf of those who are in the valley of the shadow themselves right now. Yesterday I heard of two more friends who have lost parents, always a turning point in each person’s life. I now know that grieving is holy work, an important piece of giving sanctuary to those I am given in the world.

Others within my ken can only see a Valley of Dry Bones when they look at our world–few life givers, few Spirit breathers, few points of Light. I resonate with that. If I only read headlines, banners and listen to sound bites, I know that dry bones might be all that I could see also. But I feel strongly that even as I look at the Truth, with as much clarity as I can, I must point to and witness to a bigger reality than the current state of things in the universe, the nations, the Church, even in the microcosms of deadness in our personal lives. I believe that in God’s providence, there are no final defeats. Therefore, I plant myself in that reality as a starting place on my Lenten journey, and then pray, as I weep over the Valley of Dry Bones, that the Spirit will breathe Life back into them. I ask also what my part will be in that; to whom do I speak? to whom do I give? am I invited to bear witness in a way that is public and noticeable?

And with those whose losses can seem less tangible, less noticeable, less dramatic, but who like the Psalmist have experienced that “tears have been my food day and night, while people say continually, ‘Where is your God?'”, I am to be a friend listening to their truth with respect and without judgement, and without letting their sorrow become my sorrow, only holding them with compassion and hope.

These valleys and shadows are not the easiest part of the Lenten journey. And once again I turn to a British hymn set to a French carol:

When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,/your touch can call us back to life again;/fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:/Love is come again like wheat that riseth green.                                               (John Crum, 1928)

I hold this as I continue on my Lenten way, for those I have lost, for those I love, and for myself.

 

 

Personal photo of street art in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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Points of Hope: Signs and Symbols

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Even though the Lenten journey is a serious one, leading to an intense Holy Week, I am also looking for signs and symbols that point me to hope along the way. Because Lent and Easter are so late in the calendar year this year, the days are accompanied by the signs of spring, even in our supposedly “season-less” Southern California.

My irises in the drought resistant garden are thriving, especially with the unusual rainfall. There has been a constant parade of beautiful blooms beginning in Advent (white) and continuing on with Lent, all purple, four come and gone, four to about to burst forth. The liquid amber tree and the fig tree next door have tender green leaves and shoots multiplying each day. The ornamental plum tree and the peach tree are showing their tiny flowers. All of them remind me that after the winter, after rain, after the Great Grayness there is Hope. The Creator has made each thing beautiful in its own time.

Another sign of hope has been discoveries of missing things. In my clearing out and de-cluttering, I have found things that I believed to have vanished–some pairs of socks, a quotation that I had written out on a card with decoration, some pairs of old shoes. I am reminded, even in the simple nature of the retrievals, that with the Holy One, nothing is lost, there are no final defeats. Hope can spring up.

Some signs locate me. Some creative people in the neighborhood painted the power boxes on many corners with folk art, reminding us of who we are, where we are, a gathering of people from many nations, places and beginnings. And we are people who in proximity to the freeway are people on the go, working, traveling, walking the dog. It is important to me as I journey, not to forget where I am grounded, where I am heading and whence I have come.

In the providential movement of this season, I have been engrossed by three memoirs, chosen without intentional theme, that have reflected to me a part of my beginnings that still shape me, but from which I have moved. Each writer comes from a different place than I have geographically, and each one is younger, but we have in common a shared religious heritage that gave us great gifts and enormous challenges. As I watch and listen to each voice, I am filled with hope. Thought there have been moments of pain, or disorientation, of wandering without a map, each woman has found her spiritual center, her place of belonging and her traveling mercies. I have found joyful hope in locating myself at points on each journey, and sharing moment  of  Grace.

I am finding that Lent is not only solemn and gray, but is also alive with reminders that Light and Darkness together are part of our human pilgrimage. This year it is profoundly important for me to remember that here on earth, although there is tremendous grief and suffering, there is also the whimsy, laughter, cheer, surprise of hope that manifests itself, sometimes daily–in the smile of the server, the grace of the responsive leader, the compassion of the helper, the delight of the discoverer, the unfettered laughter of old friends, remembering the way we were, and how it is Grace that has led us safely this far. I have taken on as a Lenten practice to look for those signs.

I am reminded of an old Brian Andreas drawing in which the angel appears to him in tights, he laughs and then knows that when signs appear, if there is no laughter in them, they are not for him. Nor are they for me. And neither are they for me if there is no Grace, no Joy, no Hope. On our way through Holy Week I am like the faithful one singing Psalm 126 of Ascent: ..our mouths were filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy…the Lord has done great things for us, as well as small ones, in tiny but unmistakable signs. In Lent, I can rejoice.

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Points of Detour: Roadblocks

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Some days the Lenten journey is frustrating. I set out to do something, and there is construction on the street. I go to pay for something, and the computer is down. I send a note of good cheer, and it is returned to me, “Addressee Unknown.”  And sometimes all of those things happen in one day! What does that tell me about my attempts to pay attention to the sanctuary that God can give and that I aspire to be?

My attention gets turned to the Psalms, and how often they challenge me to wait.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, in God’s word I hope./My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning. (Psalm 130:5,6)

The roadblock, the detour is an opportunity to wait for the Holy. These past six months of recovery and restoration from surgery and a fall have given me ample opportunity to wait–for healing, for test results, for new ways to re-engage with life as I was used to it. I will admit that I am not always fond of waiting. I much prefer to imagine a kind of Wonder Woman progress that swoops up into the adventuresome task and gets immediate results. But the waiting, the detours and roadblocks have given me some gifts as well.

They have focused my attention on the immediate moment, and led me to ask, “What is here in front of me–both to enjoy and to care for?” I have watched enriching TV that I didn’t know was there. I have spoken to people about uncharted territory, and learned things about my being and the mysterious world of created humanity that I never would have discovered. I have practiced small movements, prayed small prayers, celebrated tiny successes that heretofore I would have swept by. I have learned AGAIN that my worth to the Holy and to those I am given to love is not in how much I accomplish, produce and deliver, but in just being who I am, as transparent and as open as I can be, everything that I was meant to be in the moment.

The hold-ups also direct my attention to others that I might miss if I am zooming about my intended agenda too quickly. While slowing for construction, I wonder if if I have taken time to pray for those who are doing the demanding and dangerous work. If I am delayed by technical difficulties at a counter, can I feel compassion for the one who is trying to sort it out? As I meet the seemingly unending array of caregivers in doctors’ offices, am I a person who notices names and faces, and treats each one with respect and interest, while still asking clearly for what I need? And as I “wait for the Lord,” where does my heart rest in trusting that wisdom and wholeness will come?

So it appears that part of my Lenten journey is attending to the waiting, the already but not yet, things hoped for but not yet seen. The waiting is a place of looking close up, of listening deeply and of opening myself to see how the Holy will appear and in what guise. It is not wasted time, but another gift.

Help me in the waiting times, O Holy One.

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