Friday, February 26, 2010

backyard hockey and a prayer that has been picking at my soul

(i must start out by saying that i am really enjoying Ray LaMontagne right now...)

It’s Friday. Whew. What a week. I don’t think I’ve had a week like this in a long time. Assignment after assignment and all other “life routines” kept every moment filled. Did you try to find me? If so, you only had to look in one of three places:

  1. The library 2. My apartment floor (conducive to studying, surprisingly) 3. In bed sleeping (although, if I added up the total number of hours I know mom would tisk).

I am here, though. I find myself again enjoying a quiet Friday evening. Have I mentioned before how grateful I am for Friday evenings? So very grateful :)

I have a 3 hr. Friday class (from 2-5) that is almost unbearable. I don’t know who thought that was a good idea. By the time I am out of it all I can do is make my way back home to cook dinner and collapse on the couch (which is actually rather wonderful).

I watched Sleepless in Seattle and cried (only in the first twenty minutes, which doesn’t make much sense). Sappy, I know. But you know when you are tired to begin with so anything that might remotely compel a person to tears just pushes you over the edge? Uh-huh. Or it becomes an outlet for everything else you’ve been “holding in” all week that might actually be worth your tears? Such as…

…a prayer offered in class that seemed to speak its way out of my own soul…

…a research paper on divine violence that stole my heart and mind for 24+ hrs last weekend and has been with me since…

…beloved people in my life who have no inclination to follow the Lord that I am every day more deeply captured by and committed t0--perplexed and inspired by…

…a game of backyard hockey with a four-year-old…after which we saved apple seeds to sprout for summer growing…

…receiving a letter from a friend that was so timely it left me mystified at the train stop…

…grey skies till Thursday when the sun broke free and seemed to energize the air and infuse us with life again…

…an un-expected lunch date with whitney…

….conversation with those older and wiser willing to listen, encourage, wrestle, and wonder with me…

…simple prayers muttered under my breath or questioned out of my heart in wonder… about a friend that quiets and concerns me...

…a gift (book of knitting patterns!) from mom, “just because”…

…voicemails from friends I miss and love…

…and, finally, the gift of rest…either small moments in the midst of the busy or the anticipated “longer moments” provided by a weekend…

(By the way, can you see how I had ample opportunity to “offer up” my worry and anxiety to the Lord? Indeed…)

It is worth expounding on the backyard hockey story. Monday afternoon found me stomping down snow with a four-year-old to create a “skating rink” in the backyard. He was all excited about the Olympics and hockey. What better than to become those players for a while? So I taught him how to stomp nice and flat and he taught me the “rules” of the game :) We slipped around for a while until we were too cold and wet. It was lovely.

I also need to share the prayer offered in class. From time to time Dr. Schmutzer reads one of Walter Brueggemann’s prayers to open class. This one broke into my thoughts because I had just spent so much time working on that “divine violence” paper…and I had already been saying to Him, “Lord, I don’t want to just study this subject to accumulate thoughts and compile scholarship. It matters to me and it involves you. It needs to move me because this pursuit is most worth it if you change me through it…” Otherwise, it is only the movement of “data.” Sometimes that's inevitable. We are busy students. But there are times when I believe that can be very dangerous...

PRAYER – Practitioners of Memos

Here we are, practitioners of memos:

We send e-mail and we receive it,

We copy it and forward it and save it and delete it.

We write to move the data, and organize the program, and keep people informed -
 and know how to control and manage.
We write and receive one-dimensional memos,

that are, at best, clear and unambiguous.

And then – in breathtaking ways – you summon us to song.

You, by your very presence, call us to lyrical voice;

You, by your book, give us cadences of praise

that we sing and say, "allelu, allelu."

You, by your hymnal, give us many voices

toward thanks and gratitude and amazement.

You, by your betraying absence,

call us to lament and protest and complaint.

All our songs are toward you in praise, in thanks and in need.
We sing figure and image and parallel and metaphor.

We sing thickness according to our coded community.

We sing and draw close to each other, and to you.

We sing. Things become fresh.
but then the moment breaks and we sing back into memos:
"How many pages?"

"When it is due?"

"Do you need footnotes?"

We are hopelessly memo kinds of people.

So we pray, by the power of your spirit, give us some song-infused days,

deliver us from memo-dominated nights.
Give us different rhythm,

of dismay and promise,

of candor and hope,

of trusting and obeying.

Give us courage to withstand the world of memo

and to draw near to your craft of life given in the wind.

We pray back to you the Word made flesh;

We pray, "Come soon."

We say, "Amen."

(From Prayers for a Privileged People)

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