Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The beginning of the Lenten Journey

Last night, my younger daughter bolted into our room, after she should have been asleep. She has been having stomach distress the last couple of days. With my husband downstairs watching TV, she confided that she doesn't think it is a virus. In fact, as soon as her head hit the pillow, her heart started racing and she couldn't sleep, or get comfortable and her stomach started acting up. Knowing the answer she asked the question she might have not dared- "Do you think I am having stress?"
We honestly evaluated the facts: she is in honors classes; she is going to team building sessions for the Youth trip to New Orleans; she is in pit orchestra for the musical and the rehearsals are becoming excessive and tedious. She is trying to still have a life and her art ( which is her release) has suffered. She can never seem to get to it unless she is illustrating or creating for the art class at school she took for fun, but which has become a drudgery. Sounds like stress to me.
SO she resorted to the old stand-by: to come see Mom and climb into the fluffy comfort of the featherbed and unleash her fears- and to go one step farther and own that she really didn't want to leave after that because it was a warm embrace by someone she knew really loved her, no matter what.

This Lent, I am engaging in the Book of Faith Lenten Journey
Over the next 40 days I will contemplate the Lord's Prayer. But for today, I am contemplating the command to "pray like this" as both law and gospel, and the place of prayer in my life of faith in the here and now.
As a seminarian, I would love to tell you that my prayer life is consistently rich and I am constant in my conversation with God. If I did so, I would be lying, more than a little. The truth is: there is prayer in worship at Chapel, but sometimes I am thinking of what comes next in the service, or I am chasing away thoughts of what needs my attention this day. I pray on the way to Seminary, but if it is in the car, God does not have my undivided attention. As a parent I know how frustrated I am when I am not being paid attention to. At the end of the day I am praying, but I am falling asleep, just like those first disciples. On Sunday, if I am serving in worship, invariably I may find I have one eye open to what is needing attention. While this is not all of the time, it is more than I would like to confess.
And I admit that while I open my prayers with thanksgiving, sometimes the race to "Lord, fix this" is sometimes a fast pace.
I try to set aside other time, and to be intentional. Some times this time is in fact rich and rewarding and sustaining, times where I not only talk, but listen. But the truth is I really wish I was better at climbing up into God's proverbial featherbed and just hanging out, even when I am just glad to be in God's presence with nothing else to discuss.
So as I engage myself in this journey, I hope to be more mindful. One of the life-altering events for me was becoming a parent. To see in my child how helpless I was once, to realize this relationship with God; to knowing deep unlimited love and to grasp a whole new dimension of comprehending God; to think of how mere presence without words is rich and sustaining. To see myself, warts and all, in this context with God as the loving and forgiving parent who I yearn to have embrace me.
Tonite when I sink into the featherbed, it will be with a new focus.
SO today's question is : How is your prayer life as you enter Lent?


Jim said...

My prayer life, more than 36 years into this, sounds a lot like yours; but I also think that normal for most of us and "okay" with God. The Bible says, in four different passages, that we are "saved by (a) grace, (b) hope, (c) His life, and (d) returning and rest. I've come to believe that the journey is "from faith to faith" and not so much about how "spiritual" we are, but about how "thirsty" we are to once more step into His well...or featherbed, if you prefer.

Ivy said...

It's certainly a work in progress. I'm trying to be more intentional in setting aside time for listening to God. The day just goes better, but God is faithful and with us even when we don't make/have the time. Blessings,