“You get a feeling when you look back on life that that’s all God really wants from us, to live inside a body he made and enjoy the story and bond with us through the experience.” Donald Miller
A reflection Someone told me that I was being vulnerable in my writing the other day, and I thanked them, but I was pretty silent and listened to them talk because I was sure that my writing had not been vulnerable, even if the work of writing had been. There is writing that is the body, that is the blood singing in our veins. It’s easier just to do provocation and words. It’s easier to give only a record of the body, of the heart: how many times this week I have washed my hair, what I have eaten for pleasure, how many miles I have walked. Not how many breaths I have taken along the way or what the breaths felt like in my chest. It’s easy to talk about clothes and dressing and undressing. It’s harder to put the next thing on. How hard it is for me to show the transformation.
I have had the idea that we of any community can be helped if we can sometimes see the journeys of transition that others are undertaking. I was thinking, specifically, that I would like to know more of the content of people’s prayers. So, in an effort to be more vulnerable in my writing, and to lead in giving an example, I’m going to do my best to share a prayer I prayed to God a few weeks ago, one that I was formed in writing. This is exposing part of my core–not the core of muscles and skin that I like to flex in front of the mirror–but the fluffy dog core that those silly dogs are always outdoing themselves to present to us, even if we are just walking by. I’m not even going to pretend that I’m comfortable sharing this here without a paragraph’s work of weird dog analogies and other disclaiming that, evidently, is still going. And, as I pause to affirm my valuing of liturgical, communal forms of prayer, those prayers that reach across, that reach outward, that in reaching lead into higher and deeper tension and wrestling and searching (like Psalm 74), I acknowledge that this one is more (unabashedly?) personal. I might also insert myself into the prayer again, using parentheses, to highlight the moments that weren’t as real, for those who care to interest themselves. I might do that a lot.
Well, here goes.
A prayer “Jesus, (ok good start) please help me to get through that experience of feeling guilt and hardness, your hardness coming down on me all the time–at junctures–The anxiety. It makes me sad to think that this is my reality when there could be joy and pleasure –like brother puppies together I don’t know I give these thoughts to you these dreams Awaken me to starlight To memory of sleeping bags (I spelt bags wrong) To imagined first kisses. (The following is when I thought I was being to individualistic and tried to correct myself:) And to justice and life and freedom for your church and your community your people Forgive me…Welcome me Lord, I welcome you. (Ok, back on course:) To share in life with you. The green forest spots of summer. Steam rising. Jesus I used to know these. Awaken me, Lord. Call to me in moonlight. Call to me like the voice of birds. I love you. I don’t ever want to forget you love me. And jazz. Let there be jazz here.”
An actor’s warmup As you stand, feel your feet rooted deep into the earth. Deep breath in, and release. Feel the crown around your head lifted upward into the sky. Breathe in, release. Breathe in, release. And, as you expand your chest, hold your heart open to the world, open to receive and open to give. Breathe in, release. Breathe in, release.
This is what it’s like.