Rules?? for prayer??

Today after reading

https://fracturedfaithblog.com/2018/09/05/prayer-warrior-im-more-a-prayer-wimp/

I started to think about how we view and talk about prayer. I am somewhat of a eccentric Christian and have finally found peace after 77 years with my beliefs. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have questions. I will always have them until I “fly away.” But I am at peace about forming a relationship with God. Again, this does not mean that the relationship is perfect on my part. I am sure God’s side is ok.

list-of-rules

We humans have spent centuries making a relationship with God complicated. We have created rules about prayer, rules about worship, and rules about anything else we could think of. I don’t remember Jesus mentioning any rules except:

Matthew 22:37-39 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

 

He broke many rules of his time. He ate with tax collectors, gentiles and women. He touched lepers to heal them. He excluded no one. He was radical. So often we have managed to turn him into someone I am sure he would not recognize.

So what about prayer? He gave us one prayer called “the Lord’s Prayer” because he was asked to teach us to pray. It is a wonderful prayer but it is not the only prayer. Prayer comes from the heart of the person praying. There is no rule for how it is done. It is simply pouring out your heart to a loving God. If you have a routine…fine. If you don’t…fine.

PrayerThe thing about prayer is the person you know best is the one you speak with the most. If we speak with God about our day, our hopes, our distress, our job, our pain, our family….I could go on and on, then we spend time with God. Tell God what is on your mind and know that you are heard. That’s all there is to it and the more we do it the closer we become with the one who loves us.

Prayer is simple!

Dig deep

life clears“Until you dig deep you only know a small part of the human heart.” Another quote from “Tea Time for the Traditionally Built” By Alexander McCall Smith. His books about Botswana have much wisdom in them.

We can’t know everyone really well. It’s not possible. In most cases we don’t even try to. We only see the outside…the piece that people show to us. Too often we all are wearing masks and don’t want to let anyone in. It is difficult to get beyond the mask. Sometimes we can’t.

Sometimes there are people who drive us crazy…people who get on our last nerve. We can hardly bear to be around them. Then someone tells us that they spend all their time caring for a mother with Alzheimer’s. And lo! we realize that the person who seemed so awful to us was too stressed, anxious and tired to be nice.

look_into_my_heart_by_campanittaWe had to dig deep to find out what it is like where the heart lives. We have to be willing to be the caring person. We have to open ourselves to the idea that there may be something in their life to explain how they act.

I have met a lot of people in my life. Some of them I never wanted to see again. I may have been right about some but I also may have been wrong. I didn’t take the time to find out. I hope someone else did.

Healing — a poem

I am reaching the point where I don’t know if I have shared this before but if so here it is again. This was written when my job at the church was ended.

Healing-From-the-Inside-Out

Healing

I have the healing in my hands

From the heart of God

I can choose to heal

Or hurt

 

The healing of God

Flows through me

Seeking hurt, pain, grief

To overcome

 

God is willing to allow

Me to direct the light

To those in need

Of it

 

Can I learn to use the light

To see the hurts

That are in others

And in me?

 

I know I want to heal others

For I see their hurts

Exposed by the light

Of God

 

For I direct the light

Outward to others

From the depths

Of my soul

 

But can I learn to direct

The light inside

To heal the pain

In me?

 

It is necessary to look inside to see our own pain. The pain we have experienced helps others.

And it was good

front lawn shadowsToday I decided to eat breakfast on the porch. It is frequently too hot but today is milder and there is a breeze. We live on a tidal marsh. We have an 8 ft tide change. When tide is low you can smell the marsh. Some people don’t like that smell but I love it. When I was a child and visited my aunt and uncle here that smell meant we were on the way to the beach… on the way to a fun day so that smell has wonderful memories for me. It is interesting that smell can stimulate such strong memories.

I love the play of light and shadow made by the giant oak trees that we have here. There are ferns that grow on the trees (along with Spanish moss). They are called resurrection ferns. When there is no rain they are brown and look totally dead. Then it will rain and behold they are beautiful and green. I love the name and the connection.

resurrection fern

Today sitting on the deck I just reveled in the beauty of the day…how green everything is…the beautiful oaks..everything in God’s world. God is in the midst of it all. Creation continuing in the world.

I am blessed to be able to sit and absorb the beauty. I don’t do it enough. It soothes my soul and reduces anxious thoughts. It is part of my journey that I have committed to see the world around me each day and immerse myself in it.

Age is a gift

lit windowI live in a neighborhood where it is fun to walk the dogs and just appreciate the overhanging trees, the green lawns and nature in general. Sometimes I walk in the evening and people are turning on the lights in their houses. I am not a voyeur but I do like seeing people living their lives, maybe in a kitchen, a living room, wherever. I  think about what their life is like…if they are happy or sad, healthy or not, satisfied with where they are.

This little glimpse into someone else’s life reminds me to consider my own. As I walk I think about the blessing and challenges I face. I conjure up memories from the past and think about how my life flowed along. It is time for reflection and consideration.

Yes, I have fought the demon of anxiety attached to IBSD, Yes, I have had moments of regret when I didn’t live up to my ideals. Yes, I have good times and bad. However, on the whole my life has been blessed. I have grownup children who are able to live their own lives. I have grandchildren. some have already left the nest, some are on the way. I have one great grandchild who is almost 2 months old. What more can I hope for?

share wisdomNow it is up to me to use the knowledge and wisdom gained from this lifetime to share what I can to help someone else along the road. I will be a good listener, a good friend, a caring adviser and try to love as Christ has called me to do. That is what this time of life is for. It is not for sitting in a chair in front of the TV and vegetating. That is not why God granted me this time.

I think that when we contemplate getting older we need to consider why we have been granted this gift and try to share as much as we can.

That inexplicable moment

Today I shared, on my other blog, a song by Khris Khristopherson that has always meant a lot to me. Below is the video of the song with the story of how it was written. The song itself may not be your cup of tea but the lyrics are powerful and so is the story. Please read on after the video.

It is possible for each of us to have an experience so powerful that it can change us. It doesn’t matter how we connect with God/supreme being/universal One. What matters is that it is possible to do so.

We may be moved by music, nature, love, poetry, art or community…anything that can take us to that place where we are held by that breathtaking sense of oneness with everything. I have had that experience in my life. It can’t be grasped and held on to. It is just there and then gone. We remember it but can’t fully experience that moment again.

We can intentionally seek that place by letting go of ourselves through meditation, silence or whatever works for you. There is still no guarantee that it will find us but by striving for connection we open ourselves to the experience.

Holy moments are beyond explanation and something I have never forgotten. May you find and be embraced by them in your life. I believe in more.

 

The calm in the storm

I have just finished reading the blogs I missed in the last few days. WOW! everyone has written a lot. I think that is the most I have read since I began this journey., So many inspiring and thoughtful things to read!

Our journey to discover what comes next is complete and we finally have some answers. My husband’s surgery is scheduled for September and “the planner” (me) can stop obsessing. Reservations are in place and I can draw a deep breath and let go of my angst.

It is amazing how not knowing can turn me into a cartoon of panic.

anatomy of panic

Using the tricks I have learned to defuse my anxiety helped while waiting for the doctor to tells us the prognosis and plan….I closed my eyes and concentrated on my breathing. It actually helped! You would think I was waiting for the physician to declare my husband terminal instead of telling us what they would do about the 21 year old artificial knee that needed something done. What an idiot I am. And a nurse! (Maybe that makes it worse.)

The Mayo Clinic is amazing. Efficiency plus, people oriented with smiles and help everywhere. I have worked in hospitals …if only they were all like this. Information given about the knee…clear, concise and through. Not what happened at home. A real plan for the surgery not just “we’ll open it up and see what needs to be done” which is what we heard before. (one of the reasons we went to Mayo)

sometimes-god-calms-the-stormI wonder what I can find to obsess about now that this is on the radar. Life never leaves us untouched for long but I thank God for this hiatus. There can be times of calm in the midst of the storm. Keep that in mind.