Today, I share a post about life: unmasked, a blog meme started by my sensational friend, Joy.
I make a choice on Tuesday to stop reiterating to every moving creature willing or unwilling to listen to me tell them that I don't pray enough and, finally, buckle down, stop talking about it, and try to actually do this praying thing.
The first few minutes prove highly ineffective.
Lately (read: the past year), when I start to pray spontaneously, without guidance, what comes out is a series of personal reflections directed mostly toward myself and ever so often broad sweeping enough that they might bump against God. As a writer, I tend to have characters floating around my head and often what should be prayer is really personal litany, discussing the day with fictional characters I have invented to fill the silence. They are interesting people, who tell me about the fire they just survived and the divorce they're contemplating, but they are not God. I avoid God, because He makes me work out my emotions. If I work my emotions out, then I don't get to be angry about that one thing or bitter over that other.
Tuesday afternoon, after a few minutes of flailing in prayer, I interrupt the fascinating conversation I'm having in my head with the young boy holding the blue balloon who describes the sky as the butterfly net that has caught us all--a trite metaphor, but he's a child--and force myself to return to focusing on God.
I pull out the Book of Common Prayer, because I need the guided words to help anchor my own; I pull out a red Moleskine and pen, and begin to list.
These are the things that need praying for, these are the things I need to, somehow, bother to bring up.
I use the order for Evening Prayer and, when it comes time for the intercessions, I pull out the list, stare at it, and slowly work down each line.
For imagination, for rebirth of creativity, so that I can write this book that I don't know how to write.
And down I go. Line by line. This focus forces me to communicate with God, to take the time to be attentive and present to Him as He is always with me. There is no magic, no sudden epiphany, but there is the abiding sense of feeling rooted, feeling anchored, of knowing the things needing to be prayed are in fact prayed.
For friends without jobs, looking for work and worth.
On Wednesday, I do it again. I use the liturgy, which reminds me to pray for my neighbors, which I often neglect.
For C, who believes that God is evil and spiteful.
Today, I shall get up and do the same. I'll make the list, add to it throughout the day, and then set aside the time to pray. I am not one of those Christians who have reached that place of praying continually. I'm barely a Christian who remembers to pray every day. But this is beginning, me and this red Moleskine; this is a start.
And this, friends, is but a bit of life unmasked.
It is my joy, with Joy, to share here words that expose life honestly, openly, and messily. Some days my posts for this meme are about this chaos of being, other days I manage a bit more gentle words.Would you join us in sharing the vulnerable times, the unordered times, the unkempt rooms?