I remember college life. Staying up late talking to a certain someone until I’d lost the ability to connect my words with logical thought. (We still joke about how one night, reeaaalllly late into a phone conversation, I asked her if she wanted her vegetables mashed. It was time to sleep.) Those same late nights were often followed by early mornings, jumping from class to class, connecting with as many people as I could because I was socially devouring each moment like the socially repressed awkward high schooler I was. In the midst of chaotic college life, a few times a week, I would attend a class that stood out a bit from the others.
The professor began class, not by ringing a bell or hollering a cattle call. He began with a prayer. It was not usually a long prayer, at least if it’d been written out. Usually it was only a few words long. But the way it was prayed, gathered our souls in poignant silence. I know I have friends who actually wrote down many of his prayers, even though he would probably laugh at such a thing. It wasn’t about a gnostic search for meaning in mysterious short phrases.
About the power of words, and
Of our hearts and minds.
I was reminded of those valuable transitions this morning as our 3 year old brought frustration to the table for breakfast. We’d had a great morning already. I started out with a jog (old school DC Talk!!) as we’re in the midst of “Couch 2 5k”. Then I came home and helped get things ready for the day, helping the girls say “good morning” to our chickens, etc..while mom made breakfast. I really needed to take the van in for a repair, but was delaying so I could sit with the family to eat. Nevertheless, I kept glancing at the clock. Finally we sat down to warm plates of eggs, bacon, and toast. As we held hands around the table, I asked Ruby to pray for our meal. So she began praying.
In this case, it wasn’t an incredibly soul-provoking pace of words. But she prayed for so. Many. Things. Her prayer rambled on for quite sometime, including a prayer for our chickens…and finally I realized I was tense. I need reminders like a 3 year old praying, to force me out of my tense need to control my daily schedule. Moments that take power away from me, and invite me to experience a moment without anxiety over what else needs to happen.
Finally, even she forgot she was praying as her eyes began to wander around the room. We lovingly encouraged her to close with a collective “Amen”, and the meal began. Sure my eggs had lost some heat. The fresh raspberry jam had made the bread a little soggy. But the quieting, and slowing of my soul was a delicious moment I’m still thanking my 3 year old for.
May we find ourselves breathing slower in frustrating moments today…with a smile on our faces that comes from a thankful re-pacing of our day…