I picked up the threads of everyday existence this morning as my husband returned to work after two-weeks off. My three greatly distressed dogs are off at the groomers, and already, I’ve completed tonight’s reading for class. There’s no question that the holidays are officially over for every member of our Mesta Park household.
For now, I have this old house all to myself. No sounds of video games float up the stairs. No doors are slamming. No dogs are barking to be let in or out. All is quiet. Peaceful.
No so in others parts of the world. I picked up the morning papers to take in a disturbing piece of news — a story about two Middle East embassy closings amidst threats of terrorism. I walked up the stairs to two pieces of e-mail. The first was a quickly dashed note from a friend asking for prayer as she keeps a sad vigil by her dying mother’s bedside.
The other came from an e-card vendor, gifting me with a soothing e-card that played soft music and images of olive tree branches growing and a dove soaring with a piece of olive branch tucked in her beak . The card read “Happy New Year.” And in the place reserved for personal greeting, Ann wrote, “Pray for Peace”.
It was the same plea hidden beneath my own Christmas greeting this year, that without fanfare said, “Peace on Earth”; and I believe there were similar pleas buried within the news piece about embassy closings as well as that piece of email from my friend whose mother is dying. Oh, that we might enjoy peace on earth and goodwill toward all peoples, living and dying.
I do pray. I pray even when I don’t say I will. Sometimes it’s better that I pray as I will rather than as I say I will.
There are many situations for which I pray. I pray not so much because I believe that the people and situations need my prayers as much as to satisfy a mysterious urge within me. I pray because I must.
I pray with my life mostly. My prayers take the form of a written note or a new garden or a weeded yard for a neighbor. Sometimes it’s a home-cooked meal. Or even a piece posted in this blog.
I hold people and situations close to my heart as I go through the motions of my everyday life. Sometimes I pray with a few scattered words here and there. But mostly, I just whisper names. Or I name the need or the situation. My prayers are not weighed down with many words.
My piecemeal prayers are a reflection of who I am — a person that is not so disciplined, who ponders mostly with her heart instead of her head. Even my words to my friend Ann this morning were mostly heart pondering, which I call prayer more than correspondence —
“When and how does peace come, I wonder, but through dying. Not just the death of the grave but the death that comes from dying to the need to control others through power or dying to the need to control riches (like oil)… and all those other human traits that rise up in us that make us so inhumane (to others) that divides the world into pieces. But pray? Yes… this I can do… even my piecemeal way of praying can’t hurt.”
With lives tattered and torn, we pray with the thread of imperfect prayers — piece by piece. We ask another to do what we cannot do for ourselves.
Peace. Sweet Peace. The weight of this word may bring me to my knees.