Saturday, July 18, 2015

Prayer - Our Deepest Longing

This is the name of the book that I have been spending time with in the morning.  Prayer: Our Deepest Longing by Ronald Rolheiser.

This is what the author writes in his preface
"We live in a world that is for the most part spiritually tone deaf, where all the goods are in the store window, digitized, or reduced to a flat screen.  And so, prayer is a struggle.  So are a lot of other things.  When the surface is all there is, it is hard to be enchanted by anything, to see depth, to be deeply touched by poetry, faith, and love.  But these are what we long for: depth, poetry, faith, love."

I have been home this week in the midst of the  rhythms of "family life."  This week Reagan and Addie are with Marnie and Erik which means I have spent a lot of time with them while they were working.  And it has been fun and tiring for me.  There have been quiet days when they had friends come over and noisy and frenetic times like when we went to COSI and "Build a Bear." I have seen the sullen and sulky Reagan as well as the Sweet and Smart Reagan.  I have been around the anxious and hysterical Addie as well as the affectionate and happy Addie.  And they have seen me patient and impatient; present to them and distant from them. When we really live closely together we show all parts of ourselves.

Right now Chuck and I are preparing for a big change in our lives as his son Brian will be moving in with us in two weeks.  He needs family right now and there is no doubt in my mind that God wants us to be family to each other.   Not surprisingly we have mixed emotions about this on so many levels.
Like living with Reagan and Addie, I am sure we will experience the best and worst of each other!

All of which make me realize that the most important thing I can do is continue to take seriously my prayer life.  Which is as challenging as "family life."  Rohlheiser writes:
"Prayer has a huge ebb and flow.  When we try to pray, sometimes we walk on water and sometimes we sink like a stone.  
Sometimes we have a deep sense of God's reality and sometimes we can't even imagine that God exists.  
Sometimes we have deep feelings about God's goodness and love, and sometimes we feel only boredom and distraction....
We nurse a naive fantasy both about what constitutes prayer and how we might sustain ourselves in it.  What often lies at the center of this misguided notion is the belief that prayer is always meant to be interesting, warm, bringing spiritual insight, and giving the sense that we are actually praying."

Rohlheiser reminds me there is only one non-negotiable rule for prayer - you have to show up and you have to show up regularly.  And while that dedicated time with God may not always be obviously "fruitful" there is hidden growth going on all the time.  The growth that gives me patience, perseverance, courage and most of all love.  For everyone I encounter and especially the most challenging at times -myself and  my family!

My  prayer is that I might continue to seek greater discipline in prayer.  And  in the midst of the busyness of a family that stretches me to deeper and greater love that I might find solitude and time with God.  Last quote:

"Solitude is not something we turn on like a water faucet.  It needs a body and mind slowed enough to be attentive to the present moment.  We are in solitude when, as Thomas Merton describes it, we fully taste the water we are drinking, feel the warmth of our blankets, and are restful enough to be content inside our own skin. 

We don't often accomplish this, despite sincere effort.  But we need to keep making new beginnings."

As always, this is the day that the Lord has made - a day of new beginnings!

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