Monday, September 28, 2009

Where Reality Diverges

I have this image in my head of my prayer time. It's quiet. I am sitting in the comfortable, green chair tucked in the corner of my bedroom. The bedroom is neat, bed is made, and a small candle is lit on my nightstand. I breathe slowly and deeply, fully aware of the Lord's presence, and open to any direction He has for me.

Some days, I cling to that image. Some days, I laugh at it. Most days, I wish for it.

Here's how I really pray:

Sitting on the stained, family room couch, amidst the noise and chaos of a full house, toys and stray socks strewn around. I rarely get through an entire psalm uninterrupted. Pause and set my ribbon to go help LilBro in the bathroom. Pause, with my finger in place, to scold fighting siblings. Pause to answer the insistent beep of the oven. Pause and start over, again and again.

Somehow I get through it, though. Several times a day, I pause in the middle of the chaos and busyness for a few minutes with the Lord. And if my few minutes stretches into fifteen or twenty because of all these interruptions, He understands. After all, He placed me here, amidst these interruptions.

One of the most surprising parts of this prayer routine is how I react to all the interruptions. I am, generally, an impatient person. I am easily frustrated. My train of thought disappears out of the station and into a tunnel at the slightest distraction.

But, as I've set aside these few minutes, several times a day, to re-connect with God, I've seen a calmer version of me emerge. The interruptions aren't keeping me from my life... they are my life. LilBro, much as he is growing quickly, still needs my assistance. The children need my guidance. The food needs to be prepared (and, these days, on time, if we are going to make our evening activities!).

Rather than feeling thwarted by these interruptions, I've embraced them, included them in my prayers... made them another means of prayer. Most of the time, I do get back to the ribboned pages to finish where I've left off. And, if I run out of time, I just tuck the book into my purse. There will be another chance to pause and praise Him again soon.

I begin each morning, "Lord, open my lips and my mouth will proclaim your praise." What I am learning is that it's not just my mouth which is proclaiming: my hands, my heart, my legs, my arms, my attention are all proclaiming His praise.

Whether I am sitting in my green chair by candlelight... or not.

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