Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Checking in With the Divine
I wore the definition of "early riser" as a child.
To complete the couplet, I also enjoyed going to bed early.
Early to bed, early to rise,
Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
Actually, I'm not a man so I don't really know if the second half of the couplet is accurate in my case after all...
Nonetheless, I liked to go to bed early and wake up early.
Early morning was the only time of day I could really be by myself in a busy house with kids crawling on every surface. In the summer I would wake up before the sun, dress in the half dark, and sit out on the small hill in our front yard to watch the sun rise and hear the birds wake. I loved to see the fiery dawn reflected in our neighbor's second story windows. I loved the taste of fresh, cool air before the sun boiled it into a permanently humidified mass that was better sliced up and chewed than inhaled.
I loved being alone for a few minutes in the morning to sort socks -- I was a weird child -- and sort myself out. Those few minutes were my communion with God. The only time in my day when my head was still and my heart was clear. The rest of my time was spent getting my feelings hurt repeatedly -- I was a very sensitive child -- and hiding from my problems by sneaking away to be alone.
When evening fell I was always the first to want to go to bed. In order to do that, we needed to have a family prayer.
Family prayers are something my family has never missed. I can probably count on my fingers how many times we have let a family prayer slip aside and just not done it that day. We enjoy joking and making an event of every prayer because it's our family time. Even when we don't like each other very much there's a little bit of conversation before or after. Some of my happiest memories involve crowding everyone onto Mom and Dad's bed for a family prayer in the evening. We demand stories from my dad's youth, discuss current events, laugh about things that happened years ago, and do pretty much everything we can to stretch it out as long as possible before bowing our heads to check in with the Divine.
This is part of my bed time ritual. I can't sleep without at least muttering a little prayer on my own.
It was through our family prayers that I learned to pray. I learned the importance of checking in several times a day because it will help life run a little more smoothly and keep tempers controlled a tiny bit or soften a hard heart just a smidge.
After Adam died, our prayers had more purpose. We prayed for him and hoped that he was praying for us in return. Can the dead pray? I think they must be able to: they are so much closer to the Listener.
During that period we had dozens of families praying for us. I know because I could feel their prayers. I felt loved. I felt comforted. I felt the power of the soul.
Today I also felt loved, comforted; I felt prayed for.
So, thank you. Thanks to whoever was praying for me today. I will pray for you too.