Monday, July 29, 2013
Go Through the Motions
I sometimes must wrestle myself into prayer. It often seems that I'm waging an all-out battle against distractions, laziness, daydreams, aridity, and sudden inexplicable desires to latch onto any shiny bit of trivia that will keep me from praying.
This makes no sense.
God Himself, the Creator of the universe and the One Who loves me beyond all imagining, is waiting to comfort and heal and bless and listen to me. He is, quite literally, waiting.
And I, in effect, ignore Him so I can turn my attention to....... what?
Let's see. In just the last few days, I've put off prayer in order to focus my attention on junk mail, crossword puzzles, television, a book just borrowed, idle chatter, tiredness, a fleeting headache, various Internet links, and at least one catalog order that suddenly "had to" be placed right then and there and not half an hour later.
Interesting. I don't see anything at all there about my family or the work I've needed to do. All I see is a list of totally inconsequential things that suddenly become of paramount importance when weighed against spending time with, well... with the Author of Life.
See what I mean? It makes no sense.
This morning I was graced with a glimpse of the senselessness. Weakly, I asked God for help. That's when the thought crossed my mind: "at least go through the motions." Don't feel like taking time for prayer? Take a few minutes anyway. Don't feel inspired? Pick up a prayer book and mouth some words. The Bible and Breviary seem to weigh a ton today? ("oh...hooow will I ever liiift them?!"). Pick one up anyway. Make the effort. Do something. If your heart feels wired shut, at least open your mouth.
Go through the motions.
So I did. With a heart that felt like dried, fissured, ancient rock, I tried to focus while my mind flitted .... somewhere. With mind unengaged, heart uninvolved, attention scattered to dusty winds, I went through the motions.
Then it happened. Like a lamp in a house whose electricity had been out, suddenly I knew I was connected. It felt as if chains were shattered, and indeed - I think that's true. But that would not have happened if I hadn't begun by going through the motions.
And does this post even make any sense? Possibly not, but regardless - I'll hit "publish." With a prayer for anyone else who might be having trouble making the decision to take a few minutes in prayer.. and with a prayer for myself as well.
After all, tomorrow's another day. I know how this goes: it is a daily battle. I will face it again, and again.
I pray for grace to go through the motions.
Wyczolkowski Wiosna painting