Wednesday Prayers: Breathing In, and Breathing Out

My grandma was batpoop crazy, which had both up and down sides.  (Note:  I'm not talking about mental illness here, although I'm not ruling that out as a contributing factor.  I'm talking good, old-fashioned unchecked eccentricity.)  She used to get a huge kick out of the memory of her older sister sitting in a rocking chair in the dark.  When Gram asked her sister what she was doing, the response was simple: "Just breathing in, and breathing out."

Over the last couple of months, my yoga practice has finally gotten consistent, and I notice that those few hours seep into other parts of the week.  I let my heels sink down and feel grounded when I stand in line.  My attention starts to wander in Doctrine or Christology, and I refocus on where I am.  Most helpful, though, are the moments throughout my week when I pause to feel myself breathe.

I'm amazed by the autonomic nervous system.  In healthy bodies, our blood circulates, our lungs expand and contract, and our food gets digested all without any thought or intention on our parts.  Major stuff is going on, and I don't need to direct it in any way.  I can (if I choose to) notice my breathing and my heartbeat, but I don't have to wrestle those functions into place.  I am being sustained, without any effort or skill of my own.

This week, I'm praying without ceasing, just by breathing in, and breathing out.  I'm receiving constant grace, so quiet and steady that it rarely calls attention to itself.

Are you feeling sustained this week?  Does grace feel easy, or are you gasping today?  


Wednesday Prayers: Thank God for Terry Pratchett

In the midst of having Some Mild Unpleasantness, I'm delighted to have author Terry Pratchett. Laughter and a little truth in my escapism is very welcome today.

What's lightening your load?


Wednesday Prayers: the Necessity of Beauty

When I realized this summer that novels were giving me better guidance for pastoral care than textbooks were, I let myself soak in gorgeous books. Joy started to seep into parts of my heart that hadn't seen warmth in a long time.

I've been spending regular time at Longwood Gardens, and it is (to use Peaebang's preferred term for self-care) helping me keep my shit together.

There was a point when I became so constantly aware of struggle and sorrow that indulging in beauty felt unjust. Having let a little beauty slip back in, I'm starting to think that we're to consider the lilies, not just as an object lesson in God's provision, but because we need beauty. We need delight so that our hearts can open.

This week, I'm giving thanks that God is meeting my need for beauty. How about you? Are you getting enough?