Category Archives: time

Chatter

Dear God,

Where are you? I travelled halfway around the world in both directions to get some time together. But it’s like there’s been too much chatter, or static, or I don’t know. Landscapes take my breath away in ways I wasn’t expecting. Lifelong longings make me goofy and giddy as they become reality and a photo op. But why can’t I find you? I said I wanted that, needed that, expected that, hoped for that most of all – to find you. I know you are here. I don’t doubt it one bit. But why can’t I feel you? Why can’t I hear you? I have been quiet and waiting. Please, we are running out of time. Come into the quiet, come into the chatter – boom or whisper or just overwhelm my senses in a way I won’t be able to describe. Please don’t let this chance pass us by. 

Amen. 

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Early Mornings, Sunday Mornings

Dear God,

As you know, I’m not much of a morning person. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the morning in one sense – the freshness of the day is a wonder to behold. I just wind up staying up so late enjoying the evening. I’ve always loved the stars, and I get such little time to wonder at them (in many ways).

So it is funny to me – is it funny to you? – that Sunday mornings, no matter how late I stayed up, I am almost always up by 5am thinking about the people, the words I will say and pray and preach, the work God is already doing. It’s such holy time for me.

Could this be a piece of other mornings, too? Would you wake me so we can share this time together? I mean, maybe not 5am every day when so often I’m up til 1… but I guess maybe I’m praying a request for help, for intervention. Help me to sleep and help me to wake in ways that open up more holy time like this with you.

Amen.

saints

Dear God,

For all the saints, I thank you.  Saints are kind of funny, you know?  I mean, in the sense that we’ve taken the noun and turned it into something that can be an adjective – saintly – and what does that mean?  Were all the saints actually “saintly”?  Or should saintly be informed by the reality of who the saints have been in their lives?  I’m thinking of some of the oldest saints, like father Jacob.  He’s not exactly saintly, you know?  But then neither am I.  So I look to him as a hope for me, as an example of how you are so incredible, God, to stand by us “saints” who are less than saintly.  It’s you who makes us holy, not us.

I also think about the saints of my life, the ones who are resting from their labors, and it’s still funny to me.  My grandfather, for instance, John Phillip Ruth, was not a saint in his life.  But in my memory, my Pawpee was perfect.  He was a saint.  He was the funniest, the most full of life, the friendliest, the biggest, the best at everything, the one who could fix anything, the fullest laugh, the greatest Pawpee there could’ve been.  The one all other Pawpees should model themselves on.  He made me feel beautiful.  He made me feel special.  He did that for a lot of people.

But I know he wasn’t a saint, too.  He was mean to others, to his own children.  He was a grouch sometimes.  He didn’t believe in paying taxes for education while he didn’t have children in school, which is something I react severely to in my adulthood.  I didn’t know these things about my Pawpee when he was here on earth with me.  And I guess I think that we get wrapped up in this idea of saints like St. Francis, surrounded by his animal friends like a Disney Princess to the Nth degree, and his beautiful prayers, his ascetic discipline, and I think ‘how could I ever do that?’ How could I ever be that saintly?  But instead, I have to remember the saints you’ve given me are still saints and they’re always saints in the first place because of you.  How will I be a saint in this life (and in the life to come, for that matter)?  By your grace.  By your grace.  By your grace.

For all the saints – let your name be praised.  Because it’s you who made them “saintly.”  For all the saints, by your grace, have helped form me, inform me, and remind me that it’s not about me.  I may not be saintly, but by your grace, God, I can become a saint despite it all.

So let me pray a prayer of one of the saints before me, knowing it is you who forms me, you who is holy, you who is in control:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may
not so much seek to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it’s in giving that we receive.
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned.
And it’s in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen.

Time

Dear God,

Time is a funny thing.  And everyone has apparently been telling the truth when they say that it only gets faster as you age.  Which is scary to me, because it already feels like days fly, I can hardly remember my answer when people ask my age (18? no. 21? no. twenty… six. yes, that’s it), and my nephew already seems to be a little man.  Wasn’t I just holding him in the hospital?

I don’t know what time feels like to you, whether it’s flying or whether every single moment is a full experience for you, or if you somehow don’t even experience time as moving since after all, you are God and you know what is to come as well as all that has been.  That’s so radically different that I can imagine the way time works for you is radically different.  Yet I also feel like sometimes you must wonder how the daffodils are already starting to wilt and the wisteria is graying out again, you see a new mother and remember when she herself was in the womb and you nurtured her growth and thought out who she would be in the world.

I’m sorry that I waste so much time.  I don’t mean simply that I wish I were efficient and didn’t procrastinate.  I wish I weren’t such a bad procrastinator.  In fact, as I’m sure you know, I have a paper that’s late right now that I should be typing up instead of this.  But I just wanted you to know that I’m sorry.  I’m sorry that I haven’t sat staring at the daffodils this year and they’re already wilting.  I’m sorry that it’s been ages since I smooshed into a booth with my friends to laugh over coffee and marvel and delight in the fact that people so different in some ways can feel such a connection and love for one another.  I’m sorry I haven’t been immersing myself in the season of Lent in ways that shape my whole perspective.

I suppose I should finish up this paper that’s lingering.  Funnily enough, I have a book to read for class which is about spiritual practices of time.  I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts, but I was just thinking… I’m sorry for the way I abuse and misuse and disregard time.  You have given me such a gift with this life.  All of it.  Help me to be better and to attend to the moments of every moment.  And if you have any time, I could also use some help resisting the urge to procrastinate…

Amen.