Wednesday Prayers: Rest

I haven't been sleeping well for the last couple of weeks, so when it came time for Wednesday Prayers, all I could think of was Compline.

Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the hours of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness.
-BCP, p. 133

Are you tired, too? Or feeling energized? Either way, leave a note in the comments, and I'll keep you in my prayers this week.


Wednesday Prayers (Erm... belatedly): While We're Working On Our Stuff

Loving God, you made us uniquely, deliberately forming each of us with care. You are the painter, sculptor, and composer of our selves. You imagined and brought into being our bodies, voices, and spirits. You knit us in the womb, and know the number of hairs on our heads.

Let us remember that we are your beloved children, demonstrating your divine craftsmanship. Teach us reverence for your work in us. Let us rejoice in ourselves as we do in all of your creation.


Wednesday Prayers: Friendship

I'm thinking a lot about friendship lately-- what it is and isn't, and the truth that not everyone has to be my friend. (And not everyone who says they are uses the same definition I do!) I'll be writing more about that later, I'm sure.

In the meantime, I figured we might as well pray over friendships.
May the God of love who is the source of all our affection for each other formed here on earth take our friendships into divine keeping, that they may continue and increase throughout life and beyond it, in Jesus Christ our Lord.
-William Temple
(edited for gender)

Is there anything else I can be praying about for you this week? Or do you have a friendship that needs a little extra prayer?

And just as a bonus-- I just love this old hymn. It's been a favorite since I was knee-high to a grasshopper.


The Essence of a Home

Yesterday, Mr. M got word (in what struck me as an exasperatingly vague way) that we won't be heading south to a job in the city of our incredibly beloved surrogate father/grandfather. We're both a little heartbroken. It was amazing that Mr. M got on the short list, and we got our hopes up. It was his Dream Job, and we love this octogenarian so much, and the combination made the "no" just stink on ice.

And so, we're going to be in limbo a while longer, a more indefinite limbo, without any idea of what might be next. (Yes, I know that's true for everyone-- both tragedies and joys jump out from behind the bushes all the time.) We will certainly be fine, but today is a time for mourning. Premature cheerfulness helps no one (and encouragement towards the same might get you socked in the eye).

This morning, it struck me that most of my sadness comes from not being able to make our next home. This place has always felt like temporary housing-- first because we thought I'd be heading off for seminary, but eventually because... well, have you ever just not belonged somewhere? I'm damn adaptable (heaven knows I've had enough practice), but I've never stopped feeling like the new kid in school here. (My theory is that's what happens when most people in an area have roots that go back generations.) I remember talking to my spiritual director a few months ago about how we carry a sense of "home" with us when we're accepting of who God made us to be. It's true. But I'm still yearning for a little cocoon.

We're feeling a bit like orphans, and I badly want to make us a little cozy sweet nest. (Maybe less orphans than runaways, I can't decide. Either way, it's relatively recent, basically unbloggable, and horribly sad.)

This afternoon, I thought about what makes a "home" to me. Mostly, it's hospitality. A place feels like a home to me when there are extra plates set at the table, fluffed pillows on the guest bed, laughter in the living room.

Well, I can get that going again, right? That can happen in transition.

But my heart still hurts. And I still hate our butt-ugly couch.


Wednesday Prayers: Evolving Vocation

There's a common thread in my prayers lately: an awful lot of those on my list are at pivotal vocational points:
  • Leaving (or not) an academic career for the unknown.
  • Losing a job, but committing more deeply to art.
  • Defending a dissertation!
  • Nurturing a spiritual direction practice in a new place, pastoring and bishop-ing, staying focused while committed and open to what might come.
  • Looking ahead to the mystery of ordained ministry.
  • Considering a new direction after a beloved institution... becomes a different environment.
  • Waiting, and waiting, and waiting... to hear if the Dream Job is going to come through.
  • Looking ahead into choppy chunks of time, trying to find a consistent call (and a balance with motherhood!).
At this moment, I am very happy with the freedom of my loosely definitely vocation. Partly because I'm not sure we can define vocation in advance (I've talked about that before). The combined effects of each day's steps-- both bold and tentative-- create each unique vocation. Even something like priesthood-- there's Kate's priesthood, and Jane's, and Stephen's, and they're all different ministries. There are commonalities, but they are not the same priesthood. No two mothers, no two wives, teachers, physicists, even! have the same approach, the same results. Rather than molding ourselves to fit a tidy vocation, we can watch our own evolve, one piece at a time. (Mind, sometimes it does look a bit like Johnny Cash's Cadillac in his "One Piece at a Time!") I'll admit that this is a particularly scary way of doing things. And I may sound like a moron at my class reunion. People like to hear linear plans.

These wonderful people on my list-- they're all doing neat things. They're asking good questions, and it's cool to watch.

All freedom seems to require courage initially. If the only way to get rid of fear is to walk straight through it (and I believe that's the case), then surely the path to our own specific call is going to take some bravery.

But take heart, dear ones! The Lord is with us! And, thank heavens, is patient with us-- "For God knows how we were made; God remembers that we are dust." (Ps.103:14)

Did you see yourself in my list? I might be praying for you. If you didn't, leave a note in the comments, and I will!