Wednesday, January 16, 2019

speak, lord

Shivering in the small, blank chapel niched in the wall of the vast cavern of the monastery church, I have no words.

There’s no creative angst or anxious knot—there’s just silence: I’m showing up completely blank—not empty—I just don’t have any pressing prayer to pray.

I stand with dread at the edge of this awkward pause, standing at the chasm of this dreaded moment in relationships:

when we breach the endless desert of drought of conversation and there’s nothing more to say to one another.

We accept that you are your unassailable island, and I am my own self-contained, sealed away mine.

We were supposed to be unplumbable mysteries, but we seem to have been plumbed.

How awful that conversation falters even with the divine.

You could listen.

In order for the Lord to speak, his servant must be listening.

Realizing, twenty-seven years too late, that yes, for God, too, this relationship is a two-way street. That I have to listen even as I God ask for God to hear.

Speak, Lord, for your servant is—
Oh, but do I really want to listen to what will come next?

No. How about we play fill-in-the-blank? It’s like a game of godly Mad Libs. Speak, Lord, and please say these lines, here. I’ve written them all for you noworrieskthanksyou’rewelcome. Just say them. Don’t say anything else. Stick to this nice script I’ve provided for us all. Let’s do this instead.

Instead of a true dialogue, prayer, then, becomes one of those terrible, unproductive conversations between not collaborators but one person bullishly insistent on their vision and the protestation of someone who would like to put in their two cents, to make this a collaboration in spirit and truth and not content themselves with a sham.

The prayer that takes the most courage, then must truly be that finished sentence:

Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. 

Who knows what's on the other side?

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