Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Sending A Song
I had my head resting on the kitchen table in a low blood sugar funk, reviewing the events of the day and studying the cereal bowls precariously perched on piles of art supplies and half-hearted drawings of rainbows.
“Today felt like a good balance of work and community but, man, I’m tired and there is so much left to do,” I said to my husband.
“But you got to snuggle your kids,” Sis said.
“Yes, that is true,” I responded, wanted to affirm her after a long day of instruction and correction. “And that is the most important thing.”
“Not more important-er than to pray.”
Little Miss Sunday School rarely misses an opportunity. I agreed, of course and we eventually ate dinner.
But yesterday her words returned. I found myself bent and gasping for air as I prayed for a sister who was under bright lights in a paper gown with careful surgeons hovering over her body looking to remove significant parts that had gone to the dark side. I do not pray because I am good at it, or even because Christ said we should. Most days I pray because life really is that desperate and it is the only thing to do. This was true yesterday.
I opened my bible to the place I had left off, not terribly excited to be approaching the story of the birth of Christ just as the summer sun was thinking about peeking through the clouds. But I read about Simeon, who shows up briefly in the gospel of Luke to recognize Jesus as the Christ and say so. As an introduction, Luke describes him as “righteous and devout”. The Message says that he was “a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel”. I stopped and reread. Prayerful expectancy of help: that is something I could understand. I thought of the people I knew who, at that moment, were gathered in the waiting room, praying away the hours.
Then I turned to Psalm 31. King David sang: “Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect God to get here soon.” I pictured this sister raised toward heaven by the prayerful hands of her friends. And I asked Jesus to sing to her while her body and mind slept. Songs of bravery and strength and promise. And I asked him to sing to those waiting. And I thought of my son, terrified in our first meetings, clutching my breast as I sang to reassure him. When I thought of this sister and her family held tightly to God’s own heart, listening to his song, I wept. And pedaled my bike with all my might. And made the awkward whimpering noises that whistle through a constricted throat.
In the late afternoon Facebook reported that things went well. Thank you, Lord.
“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24