At the retreat
That’s me this morning before dawn, opening and closing the door (which makes far louder a noise than I intended), turning on all the hall lights by mistake, interrupting the few other early morning risers. I’m just bumbling around at 6:15 in the morning, wondering who Jesus is.
This year at the retreat we have an honest-to-God prayer room. Some participants have asked for this for years, but for whatever reason it didn’t happen until this year. I thought that simply an empty room with a few chairs would suffice. After all, one can pray just about anywhere, right? Happily, somebody else, not me, is in charge of setting up the prayer room.
Early Saturday morning I decide to go to the prayer room to say a quick prayer for my parents. I am always saying quick prayers for my parents, so I’m expecting nothing special. What I find is different and better than a sparse room. The lights are dimmed and there are candles, a figurine of people standing in a circle holding hands, a mini-waterfall, and some books. One is titled “Jesus Calling.” Well, I guess Jesus is calling me to stay in this room a while.
For a while I just stand, contemplating the quiet and calm. Then, feeling too closed in, and I decide to open the blind. It is still quite dark, but the outside floodlights illuminate the steady snow, falling on the trees and the bushes, on the road and the fields, on the just and the unjust, on the weak and the strong, on all the children of God. I think of my father in Parkinson’s Land, of my mother in Caregiver’s Land, and all the others stumbling through life and the approach to death. The falling snow is too much beauty to comprehend.
There are paper and pens for writing prayers. This is helpful, as it makes me put my prayer into intelligible words. I haven’t found out this morning exactly who Jesus is, but I have found a place where I can write him a note, say what’s going on, bare my soul, cry my eyes out, and thank God for reminding me of beauty and sorrow so early in the morning.
A few minutes later I am heading to the exercise class, ready to start my day.
* * * * *
It is now a week later. I am not sure anymore exactly what I wrote in my prayer. Just asking God to help my parents through their suffering, to give them joy and laughter as much as possible, and to be with them always.
Photos were taken after prayer, just before exercise. I always find a way to stay busy.