I loaned a book of prayers some time ago. That loan became a gift; it was never returned, but was used, holding interest rather than paying it. But, now it’s come full circle as a kind of gift again.
Not a book of prayers, but as Prayer itself. I do pray, God, as you well know, and I love you more for it. You don’t love me more; that would be an increased action toward me that is already full force. Your action is/was/continues to be for all your children. YOU CAUSE. I keep reminding myself that your name is He Causes To Be.
But, you ARE Love. And once we even begin to understand that, we act; we love . . . After having been embraced by you, we embrace others with your Love.
And that’s when Life begins . . . and Life is killing me God, in sweet agony.
- On the bus each day. Angels galore! And Karen The Bus Girl who knows my happiness and my tears, and once while waiting at a Stop, a metaphor made real, she patted me on the back without a word. Her own Dad, a dying drunk, now alive again, may show her your true power. She cried that one time, early on, and I said I had some friends who would be happy to think about her. Too early to say “prayer” but she did. She said yes, please pray. And we did. I know not what she thinks about it even now, but she knows what I think about you Abba, and your people, and their prayers. At any stop, full stop or transit stop, you cause Life.
- When shopping in lots of seven. By chance I keep rolling a 7 (and parenthetically I’m reminded of your ordained cycle of one week, and on the seventh day, a holy Sabbath—today—when I write this prayer). Yeah, I keep coming home with seven things, I notice, as I pull them from my cotton bag. But at checkout, God, let us not check out. There it’s Lori the Checker who had three days off just before mine. But hers was one day off and two in court. Oh, jury duty? No, I was a witness, she says. I locked eyes with her and she talked. My boyfriend tried to strangle me and he was charged with domestic abuse and attempted battery. He was found guilty of abuse, not battery, but hasn’t shown up for sentencing and I feel more vindicated each day he doesn’t appear. They’ll catch up with him . . . I start to leave, and say Lori, thanks for talking, and . . . Oh, I’m OK, bye Timothy. And Lord, it took so much time for that. A time period of seven items rolling down a belt, passing briefly through her hands, into a bag. A swipe of plastic, and your Love made known. And same place different days, there’s Blind Bobbi, and hey it’s Genny from Imago, and shopping can evoke a better conversation than church sometimes, and look it’s Joan who knows of my dark escape attempt and helped rescue me, and now I return the favor in prayer, having been prepared first by passing through the
Valley of the Shadow of Death.
I’ve passed through it, God.
- At a coffee shop in my apartment building where Serena the Sweeper is a barista. You remember God after she made my drink (which they always make, off menu. I tell them to create something. I feel joy today; put that into a glass. For here. It was hot today; make an oasis. It’s just a way to get them to listen, Lord, and to talk . . . you know). That one time she started sweeping the floor. I walked toward the door, and your Love compelled me to say thank you, Serena, for doing that. She said I’m only sweeping . . . NO! There is no such identity or deed that is named, “I’m Only”. Serena, you are creating a new floor, never before seen, and you’re getting paid to do it. Free your mind from making drinks, and look lower, at the floor. The broom is your brush, and those tiles are your canvas. You are sweeping the particles of life into a pile where they belong. They are only particles, not the detritus of destiny. And by moving them, clearing the floor, you are cleansing, and exposing the hidden corners, and making this a sacred space by your very sacred service. Humble service, at floor level, God, is where we often see you best. Or . . . at the quantum level, beyond the particles . . . And another barista is Jason the Latin Scholar who just yesterday starts to sweep, and then comes to my table to talk, again. His boss, the shift supervisor Aja (yes, it’s Steely Dan, that Aja, Lord, and I wonder if her parents had any idea I’d be talking to you about her name, and Steely Dan’s perfect song, and your Love in the same sentence 26 years later)—well, Aja comes out and takes the broom so Jason can stand and just talk. He’s talking for ten minutes, Lord, while his boss cleans up. That is the Kingdom of Heaven. So Jason talks, and she lets him. The words run the gamut: start with Latin and end with church past. Faith. Eternity. Freedom. Privilege to know God, not duty. Sheer Luxury. He shakes my hand, firmly, and thanks me for connecting with him months ago, and for the conversation today. I don’t cry; I look him in the eyes as I leave and say you’re welcome. No false humility. No kidding . . . YOU are Love, God, and we love your children. It’s VERY simple. And there is Kristine. She-who-mourns-as-manager, Kristine, who blesses from some pain, giving away free pastries, paying for drinks with a wave of her hand. God, this is a future embrace, not future for you, of course, but for me. So, lead me into it. She’s watching and listening and one of these days the gentle, comfortable questions you give to me will turn a visit into a victory*. I have no idea how. And what do I care of how, anyway? It’s Who. It’s You, and then everyone else.
- Or, it’s at another coffee shop downtown, where Gemini (a guy named Jim and I) meet to talk, and the meetings become encounters. And yesterday we moved to meet in a park, Shade Under Trees, and we did speak of shade and trees. And particles. And wave function and field theory. And your mystery, and how we talk about you and help others to know you. And sacrifice and yielding and emptiness and being refilled by your Love and what it all looks like now. And then at high Noon we both stopped. Full stop. A prayer request had been sent to each of us by email and we responded with high priority and unlimited bandwidth over a secure line by way of the ultimate Server, straight to the home office, your throne of Majesty. After praying, we were just hungry, God, so we walked two blocks to a café for lunch. But then, there is Keith who used to live here, and now he lives in Indianapolis, and with an outstretched hand, the acquaintance was renewed. He spoke for ten minutes about the importance of preparing for death and beyond. He’s a believer. You saw him at First Christian more than ten years ago, when you met me in Portland. He had just come back here for a visit. Or . . . to trade in some love for more Love.
- It’s at work. God, my work! How you’ve blessed me with the lowly highest-of-high callings: to Deliver: Mail, your Truth, your Love, special deliveries all! And the government of the United States of America writes my paycheck! And there at work, it’s Supervisor Sarah of Constant Countenance. I already knew, and she did I, that we were believers. But that one time she walked by and muttered the word “countenance” and I shouted hey Sarah that’s a nice word: countenance. Yeah, it’s biblical she said, and went on her way. I got back to work sorting pieces of paper with names of people who have souls and addresses that hide secrets and hold in love. But, that opened a door, Father, and now she comes by to whisper and asks my advice about issues and was it ok how she did this or that, and I can only take your Love, God, and reflect it back with affirmation or whatever you give to me. There is Dean the Decent, a Catholic brand of believer who calls me II Timothy and sometimes asks me about Ephesians. And there is Dave the Meek Methodist who believes in Bus Angels. All your kids, God, every one of them.
So, Holy God, there is your Love. All within one week, your holy cycle of days. You pour it out, you drench us, and I CANNOT KEEP UP because the music of your Love is polyrhythmic perfection, and I can keep a good beat and my ear is tuned, but OH MY GOD it’s an unspeakably beautiful composition and the beat is unbearable and the meter is mystery, and I love it! God, I love it, and want to live it and thank you and praise you and I accept your lovely Love with no trace of fear . . . and
I am NOT
Afraid of you
Angels get to the point swiftly with me Lord because they can skip the small talk . . .
But I DO fear you in glory and wonder and majesty and in my emptiness and aloneness and in my pain, and then in your Love.
And I fall flat on my face before you and behind you as I chase you running toward me! And I’m breathless . . .
So that’s it God, <1700 words for this hour of this day from a week of your days. These days, Father, may they all be yours.
Your faithful son,
Oh, yada yada, why do I feel compelled to make a concluding list of my endearing qualities, God? It’s your Love!
Only you, I serve. Only you, know me. So there it is . . .
5 August 2017
*Just a few weeks later now, Kristine is no longer in mourning. Kristine is a friend, and most recently joined other friends and me to collect money (maybe even a source of her mourning, formerly) to help victims of natural disasters. I would say she is a giver still, but from strength and victory! She is an amazing person.