My prayer is twisted and torn, like the tissue into which it is poured. I’ve replayed each failing again and over again in my mind, searching for a reason for grace. I’ve calculated each loss, even predicted the ones to come, reaching for a reason to hope. I am like a woman searching for her lost coin, checking and double-checking every inch of floor and cupboard, picking up and setting down every piece of clutter. There is no rhyme or reason, no logic to what has been lost, no equation that can order my anguished wandering. There is only You to collapse upon, begging for rest and peace. Do You have time to search with me, to see what there is to be found — if at all? Will You, as we search, slip a coin of grace onto the shelf where I can find it, or perhaps clink a token of hope into the empty bowl on the table? Then my prayers will dry their tears and my voice will find a song that sheds light on the chaos and restores my soul.
Go to the highest place you can find —
the small knoll in the cornfield or
the 55th floor of the skyscraper;
hike through the rocky foothills or
stand at the edge of the ocean;
and shout, My God, my God is great!
Lean your head back, look up and marvel:
the whole earth is but a pebble
in the palm of God’s right hand,
its mountains and seas mere flecks
of mineral decorating the pebble.
How can we even imagine such magnitude!
How can we even respond to One so terrible
except to make ourselves small
like the pebble, as humble as
the dust which must always look
up for perspective beyond itself.
We look up to witness to the work of Your hand!
I crave coffee, chocolate
You do not name yourself
The God of Easy Living,
and your reputation is not
upheld by my indulgences.
I work hard to keep
my little world intact.
You are not called
Holy Myopic One;
you see worlds and sytems
and connections, and you break
my little world out of isolation.
I want you to teach me,
use me, make me matter.
Your reputation is not staked on me.
The stones can sing your praises,
the sparrows are more obedient,
the withering grass is a
more faithful witness.
Let me make it, or at least
preserve me from failing.
Your life calls my life
to be and to love
(not to make or break)
and always, only, for your sake.
Through meetings and emails, I listen.
As people talk, as the day unfolds, I listen.
Beyond my “to do” list, beyond my busyness, I listen.
To the parable in the powerpoint, I listen.
To the gifts of sun and sky and coffee, I listen.
To the stories of people passing on the street, I listen.
To Christ in community, I listen.
To Christ between the words, I listen.
To Christ within my flesh and breath, I listen.
Still working. Jesus, may it be so that you are still working. Still working in Palestine and Israel. Still working in Crimea, torn by loyalties and language, power and poverty. Still working somewhere in the remote direction of Congress.
yes, but no.
Let me start again.
Jesus, still be working on me. Please Jesus, still be working in me. The cracks have been patched over too many times. The voids have been stuffed like a spare closet where all things are hidden. My soul is tense, holding its breath…for what? Holding its breath against failing, against breaking, cursing every patch job that slips its place. Tell me, please, that you have not lost hope for what can be done with the scrapheap that is me. Show me that you can do what I beat myself up trying to do. Keep working, I beg. Piece something together that will be useful to you. For the love of God.