It’s that time of the year again – the sweaters come out of our closets, those breezy coffee breaks and the wistful mood is in the air. I try my best to be a prayerful person, by “best” I mean I try to make it a point to talk to the big man up there on a regular basis. Drivers must think I’m quite a crackhead from their cars as they watch me talk normally to myself. My life is an oxymoron.
As a born and raised Catholic; I was taught the value of connection from an early age, to find it and build it. No lie, week after week and month after month, I’ve attended mass diligently but today I noticed how stale my attempts have become. I would enter church, make the sign of the cross, say the prayers, listen to the sermon, take the eucharist, pray and then make the sign of the cross again. Done, done and done! It’s quite an easy process to do and it makes you feel good to be at His house and feel His presence.
Today, I laughed at myself. So somewhere between the above ritual mentioned, there’s a part where you wish peace unto others around you with hands clasped. I’ve been doing this every mass I’ve attended this year, heck! I’ve been doing this all my life! Whilst the choir sang their tune and the priest wishes us peace, we turned to the people around us wishing them peace as well. As did I, said one to the front, one to the left and the right but when I turned to my back, there was a lady in her classy beige coat who took more than my wish and stretched her hand out and said “peace be with you too”. It’s been awhile since someone has shook my hand and it occurred to me that I’ve lost my sense of grip. It was a matter of seconds but the touch of her soft warm hands and her sincere eyes caught me off guard. Yes, off guard. I have been doing this all wrong for awhile it seems.
Shame on me.
In my emptiness and yearning for His message to come to me as I prayed in church, my focus was on Him and only Him. That man on the cross, that guy up there and that spirit. It’s blasphemous to even speak of the Holy Trinity this way but as I rewind that moment at church over and over in my head, it’s quite an epic fail to think of your holiness to be so perfect and yet so flawed in its ways.
As we constantly seek his attention in our day, in our prayers and in our ways, everything else around us blurs away. I guess we have churches and places of prayer to go not just for ourselves but for everyone to be one with Him and experience his love from each other. Perhaps his invisibility (a physical sense) in such places brings about a transparency upon us; we’re on our knees and our eyes closed with prayer but maybe our prayers can be strengthened by the people around us in prayer too. To see them seek God, helps us seek God. To see their love, helps us see His love.
Our hearts go all out to Him night after night before we sleep, praying silently about our burdens and thoughts. Sometimes we tend to forget to open our eyes and get up on our knees to stand again; we blanket our prayers only for Him to hear and lose that human connection. It’s that you and me against the world feeling.
Tonight, practice to pray with your eyes and hearts open. Practice to accept and share the love and prayers to those around you. It’s like a double layer effect; I share with you and you share with me then up it goes up to Him louder, clearer and hopefully more whole. I think prayer doesn’t require you to beg and cry but rather teaches us to find, to build and to grow with faith. With this we’ll learn to stand and walk in faith.
Peace be with you.