Flee for a while from your tasks,
hide yourself for a little space from the turmoil of your thoughts.
Come, cast aside your burdensome cares,
and put aside your laborious pursuits.
For a little while give your time to God,
and rest in him for a little while.
Enter into the inner chamber of your mind,
shut out all things save God
and whatever may aid you in seeking God;
and having barred the door of your chamber, seek him.
~Anselm of Canterbury: The Major Works
Yesterday I needed to leave work early;
near tears, physically spent, too fried
to keep listening, problem solving, comforting.
I needed to feel something other than needed.
I needed neediness myself — a sorry place to be.
It’s happened before, many times:
middle of the night mothering a vomiting child,
middle of the night mothering a frail mother,
middle of the night worried about the world.
Yet morning comes because God never left,
maybe not bright and shining and wondrous
maybe a weeping rock,
but if I gently close the door to all that is not God,
I will find Him looking for me.
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains would tremble before you!
As when fire sets twigs ablaze
and causes water to boil…
And this, then,
is the vision of that Heaven of which
we have heard, where those who love
each other have forgiven each other,
where, for that, the leaves are green,
the light a music in the air,
and all is unentangled,
and all is undismayed.
-Wendell Berry “To My Mother”
Something woke me at 4:45 AM: perhaps the orange glow bathing my face. Never one to miss a light show, I heeded the call and obeyed.
Once outside, I watched clouds boiling – shifting and swirling in unrest as if something or someone may emerge momentarily.
Just early morning bird song oblivious to the turmoil.
Within a minute, the heavens settled and so did I, no longer entangled and dismayed.
Yet for a moment this morning, I did wonder what might become of us all.
Sometimes, hard-trying, it seems I cannot pray–
For doubt, and pain, and anger, and all strife.
Yet some poor half-fledged prayer-bird from the nest
May fall, flit, fly, perch–crouch in the bowery breast
Of the large, nation-healing tree of life;–
Moveless there sit through all the burning day,
And on my heart at night a fresh leaf cooling lay.
~George MacDonald from Diary of an Old Soul
There can be no response today but to bow in earnest prayer, waiting for the hatch of a healing peace among the diverse peoples and opinions of our nation.
Our lives are half-fledged, not yet fully delivered nor understood, doubt burning into our flesh like thorns on fire. We are an angry and hurting nation — today becoming those who won and those who lost. The gloating bloats who we are, beyond recognition.
May our prayers rise like a dove from hearts in turmoil, once again to soar on the wings of eagles.
Peace, come quickly.
Be no longer moveless.
Move us to higher ground.
Plow deep our hearts.