What or Who is Calling to You?
I hear the call to prayer and meditation five times a day. My cell phone alarms are set to ring at 6 am (time to get up!), 9 am (morning prayer), 12 noon (noonday prayer), 6 pm (evening prayer), and 9 pm (compline). I don’t always answer that call.
The call to prayer, especially during the Lenten season, is not just a call to conversation with God and to the worship of God, it is also a call to self-examination. And truly, what fun is there in that?
When our conscience is clear and our heart light, it’s easy to step into prayer with the grace of a dancer. But do you remember heading home from school with a note from your teacher in your pocket that told tales of misbehavior (those “things I have done”) or asked about homework not turned in (those “things left undone”). How long did it take you to walk home? Did you rush home? Or did you drag your feet and take the long way home?
This morning, when prayer called, I drug my feet and I was full of ADHD energy. I distracted myself from one “important” task to another. I was like a hungry Magpie, distracted from her search of food by one pretty, shiny, distracting bauble after another. That distractedness isn’t something new and it isn’t something that happens just during the Lenten season; I am a Distracted sort of gal. In fact, if I was a superhero, my super power may very well be “Distraction! Ah ha!” Now picture me waving distraction in front of you like a sword, “Have at you!”
Unfortunately (or fortunately!), this morning I distracted myself with thumbing through my prayer journal. There I found an entry from last year, words I need to hear again today:
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Feeling pain, sadness, grief — those feelings are all normal. They are a part of being alive. If you try to self-medicate, drink, drug or abuse sex, food or social media, then you are just trying to avoid what is not only normal, but necessary. It is just part of Life.
And the ability to feel that pain is the thing that keeps complacency from becoming normal. When you numb yourself to pain, you become like that frog sitting in the frying pan while the heat is slowly being turned up. You stop feeling the pain that you NEED to feel in order to keep you awake, to help you move on, to change, to stop whatever is hurting you.
Stay awake! Don’t let yourself be numb. Allow yourself the freedom to feel sadness, hurt, and fear. It keeps you alive, keeps you growing. It keeps you with God, needing God.
In the next entry in my prayer journal I made note of the fact that I was unable to pray for the two days following this entry. I pondered that for a moment and now I wonder, during those hours (or days, or weeks, or months) when I have a hard time going through even the motions of daily prayer: Are those times when I am taking the time that I need to take to digest the struggle, the lesson, or the new way of thinking that the previous time of prayer has brought me to?
It’s just a thought. I think I’m going to think on that for a while. Maybe you would like to join me in my contemplation, ask yourself this:
Who or what is hurting you? What is that pain asking from you? What do you need to do (or stop doing)? What do you see (or not see)? Who are you (or who do you need to become)?