Breath Prayer: “wait” “a bit”
When we went to Africa this past summer we were able to spend 3 days out on Safari. The Kenyan wilderness is alive with living teachers that I’d never dreamed I’d be able to see. Animals grazing and hunting, sleeping and wrestling. Trees, plants, flowers of colors I never knew existed.
The acacia tree can teach us about stopping. They have hook-like pieces on their branches that unpredictably stick out. You could be walking along, making your way and all of sudden; you become snagged and are forced to stop.
Our stories bring us healing. They companion us and help us hold onto our history. They help us make meaning of where we are and where we’ve been. And sometimes they help guide us into what will be next for us.
We tell our life-stories more than once. These are the stories that hold the moments-that-matter of our lives. Sometimes we have the feeling that we are telling them over and over and over again. But it turns out, that’s just not true. If we pay attention, our story is a living one. If we pay attention there is a time, each time when the story changes. There is a time, each time when we get snagged and we have the opportunity to stop.
And when we stop, we have the opportunity to listen. Deeply listen, to what we are telling ourselves in the story. It is in this place where we are snagged, where we are hooked, that our hearts are doing their most significant healing work. And when grace abounds we are able to stop and listen.
The wait-a-bit tree can remind us that all along the journey there are lessons and gifts. If we march on down the path from here to there and back again, we’ll miss what we are given along the way. And so it would serve us well to wait a bit as we journey through this one precious life. There is healing right there in the midst of our story if we can wait a bit and let our hearts catch up.
Prayer: Holy One, this day may we wait a bit for your loving presence. May we lean into your lovingkindness and have the courage to just wait. Amen
Working as a Hospice Chaplain, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.