Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Getting Directions

Disturb us, Lord, when We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

I’ve wanted to write about something I know nothing about. In fact, I’ve been avoiding writing about it for several days It’s been near the center of my conscious life since November of ’06—no, a lot longer than that, several decades at least. Maybe since I learned “Now I lay me down to sleep”.

Prayer.

I mean, I’m a Christian, among other ways to describe myself, yet I sometimes feel like the least of those; prayer, or, more accurately, the lack of it or my frustrations with it, being one of the major reasons. I don’t know what I’m expecting, or why I’m frustrated, or what, if anything, I should be doing, or not doing, differently. I read about it, and think I’ve got a handle on it, but it escapes my grasp so quickly; “I fall down, and must get back up.”

I believe one of the reasons I found the Episcopal Church congenial is its encouragement of corporate prayer—the community, gathered and scattered, is one at prayer. There are times for prayer, and places devoted to prayer, and, when people say, “I’ll pray for ___”, I had a sense that, whatever they were doing, they were doing what they called “prayer” on a regular basis. Nor did I ever feel excluded or pressured; it was there: nothing more.

With that help, I’ve joined in; I attend worship, both Sunday Eucharist and Holy Day observances, regularly, and I use the Daily Office (online, thanks to the sisters of St Clare in Cal-e-forn-eye- a). A wonderful ex gave me a copy of Benedict’s Rule, with Sr. Joan’s most helpful commentary, which I sporadically use. I am starting yoga as a Christian discipline. And yet. Still. Perhaps “my heart is restless”.

The immediate issue is a search for a Spiritual Director, a person trained to check in with a wayfarer to help her/ him discern what is of Godde, and what is dross. I’ve tried this twice before, but now see I wasn’t ready, wasn’t prepared to bring an engaged prayer life to the discussion. How is this time different, or is it?

That answer can wait. Evaluation follows action. I am searching along two paths: local and not so local, to see if I may find a guide. I have had a sense, for over a year, that something is waiting for me to come to meet it, and that this is the issue in my life.

So, friends, whatever you call it—prayer, meditation, good vibes, kindly thoughts, or no name at all—please; I need all the help I can get. And thank you all for your help thus far.

9 comments:

Kirstin said...

You got it. (And thank you, for your help as well.)

Grandmère Mimi said...

Johnieb, I'll pray that you find your way to to whatever (or whoever?) is waiting to encounter you.

johnieb said...

Yes, Mimi, whomever; the "whatever" seems to me to be a side effect.

pj said...

Johnieb, the only way I pray for someone is to think about them, more or less. You know what I mean. So I'm thinking about you. ;)

Also, I truly believe that questioning, wondering and being confused and frustrated is a hell of a lot better than sitting around watching reality shows, you know?

eileen said...

Prayers Johnie..I'll add you to my list.

May Godde's wisdom and grace descend upon you and bring you what you need.

spincitysd said...

So you finally surrendered to the blogging bug. Resistance was futile, you had to comply. Time to add you to my Google Reader;I can't miss any of your posts/ thoughts/ random ideas. Hope you have time to still visit at TGW and eh-hem my blog from time-to-time.

johnieb said...

I think you've noticed that I haven't Exactly given up on Egalia and the gang at TGW; they are my homies, yo.

You are who, there?

johnieb said...

OK, James, I did a little 'search, and yer outed, dude. SD and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot makes me suspicious; if a dogface may ask, are you now, or have ya ever been, a Jarhead? You've never mentioned it.

Welcome, Bro!

FranIAm said...

Late to the gathering but here with prayers nonetheless. I send you every good prayerful wish and intention for you to find your way.

Not too long ago the Drake prayer/poem was used in a homily at my (RC) church and I wrote about it on our parish blog, feel free to read if you wish.

I found the words most stirring and have prayed with them since.

Re the parish blog, I have shared it with other blog friends such as Mimi, Paul and some others, but I don't really connect it to my FranIam self. That said, you are always welcome to visit and to comment if you wish.

Although in the name of full disclosure my pastor has read FranIam! And enjoyed its irreverent humor. I am not sure our parish community would feel the same way!

Peace to you.