“I sought the Lord, and God answered me,
and delivered me from all my fears…
The poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord,
and was saved from every trouble…
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears,
and rescues them from all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted,
and saves the crushed in spirit.
Many are the afflictions o the righteous,
but the Lord rescues them from them all.
God keeps all their bones; not one of them will be broken.
The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.”
– Psalm 34: 4, 6, 17-20, 22
“Silence the contending opinions you have within your heart… You do your best to call a halt to these noisy crosscurrents of personal feelings, opinions, and ideas. You start over… You center upon what God’s estimate of this person was in creation and is now in God’s redemptive wisdom and love… You choose to center down.” – Wayne E. Oates, Nurturing Silence in a Noisy Heart, 43.
Weary, I collapse. The tool belt hangs heavy and clumsily around my waist, creating a loud thump as I fall to the ground. The tools weigh me down and leave me grounded wherever I have fallen. Where I sit, there I am stuck. I lift my eyes towards where I wished I had landed instead – a cushioned seat, a place with a better vantage point, a spot in the company of friends. My body pulses and aches, and the distance between where I sit and where I wish I sat grows further and further.
Cheek-to-cheek, our faces squeeze together in the dark as I comfort our youngest in the last bedtime ritual of the night. Ever since he was old enough to rough it in his room alone, we have had this moment at day’s end. The room’s darkness only makes all the other senses increase. He relinquishes any control over his body and simply lets me hold him.
At first, as an infant, he could rest solely on my chest, with my arms just as extra support. Now, almost two and a half, his arms wrap around my neck and his legs haphazardly fold around my sides. My arms squeeze him tight as I rub his back in the quiet.
He whispers, “mommy,” softly in my ear.
The wind picks up and papers flutter. That which holds no weight finds itself floating and shifting. Moving from simply a breeze, the winds increase and become a united force. A great gush from the skies funnels down and circulates itself. It begins its work of not just shifting and shaping but dismantling and destroying.
The funnel encircles the known structures and that-which-has-been becomes a pile on the ground. As the wind softens and fades, the brick wall has now returned to its former life as building blocks.
That-which-has-been now is that-which-will-be.
The youngest rises early and is fully alive at 6:15 a.m. Perhaps he is his mother’s son. Breakfast consumed quickly, he begins his play. He shouts at objects in repeated indecipherable words. They are unknown to the untrained ear. But to us, with visual cues of context, we discern what they mean. As he shouts in repeated fashion, we echo back our confirmation that we heard.
His attempt to name is intense and urgent. He shouts them like cannonballs hurling towards the target until affirmed that we heard and understood him.
May my prayers be the same – eyes open to the world, to that which delights my eyes and that which frustrates my heart.
May I launch it all, in few words, towards the Eternal Listener until I hear it reverberate back my way. Continue reading