Sunday, February 26, 2012

Images for Lent, Inspired by Light

Ah, the beauty of hardwood floors. And of light coming in through the window.

And to me there is beauty in the simple lines, the clear delineations. This is this area; that is that area. All combining to form a whole, but each separate from the other. It looks so nice and neat. So orderly.

My life is not that way, and neither are the lives of many people I talk with. And anyone who checks my blog, or gets updates, can pretty well count on the fact that if it has been a while since I last wrote, it means life has not been neat and orderly in the meantime. Sometimes it's hard to even remember what has been going on that has kept me from writing. Since last time, I can look at my calendar and see a speaking engagement, a retreat planned and led, dinner guests or overnight guests many weekends, three concerts attended, a professional conference out of town, my birthday, and a day trip out of town. An audition. Oh, and physical therapy sessions were added to my schedule in the past week.

All that in addition to regularly scheduled work.

When I write it all out, I feel a bit gentler toward myself for not taking the time to sit and write. And I'm thankful for all the wonderful people and music and encounters. Especially the physical therapy, which even makes it possible to use the computer without the continual pain I'd felt for months.

But today has been a day of staying home, with no guests other than welcoming the presence of rest and peace. Ahhhhh.

And this seems now like a good time to share this prayer, which is engraved on the candle holder above and sits on the desk across the room from me:

O God of peace,
who hast taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved,
in quietness and confidence shall be our strength:
By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray, to thy presence,
where we may be still and know that thou art God;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

It is the prayer that we prayed at the beginning of the centering prayer group I used to meet with, until our schedules no longer allowed. But we will be meeting during Lent, and I do so look forward to that.

And of course it isn't just scheduled activities that keep us from peace. It's the activity of our minds and hearts, perhaps, that does so as much as, or sometimes more than, the outward activities. Which is one reason prayer is so important to me. It helps order my mind, orient my heart. It makes it possible to go into a maelstrom of activity, or into the maelstrom of other people's struggles (a big part of my work), and even into the maelstrom of my own heart and mind, and to have a center of peace and quiet in the midst of it all.

I'm thankful for Lent. A time to remember we are dust. A time to focus on prayer and fasting. A time to at least try to see ourselves in a clearer light, and to be thankful for the Spirit that animates our dust and loves us even in our messiness and disorder, bringing peace and order if we will accept them.