Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sleeping with Bread: Compline Prayers and Other Things

Today marks the return of Sleeping with Bread as a Monday meme in this vast blog'verse.  One thing I wanted to note is that for me, when I do the SWB exercise, it relates very specifically to my Christianity.  I wouldn't want anyone to feel, though, that they can't or shouldn't participate if they don't share my beliefs.  Taking time to stop and look at what is life-giving and what is life-taking is beneficial for anyone.  It is a time to reflect, analyze, be still, etc.

I've got a post up over at the Sleeping with Bread blog and it has automated links.  If you'd like to join us, put up your own Sleeping with Bread post and then enter in the post link on the form at the bottom of the post.  Remember to use the post URL and not your blog URL.  If you have any questions about doing that, you can email me at aseveremary @ pacbell dot net.

Now, on to my baking...  this week, my consolation and desolation are thoroughly intertwined.

In the last week, what has given me consolation?

I've been reading Compline prayers to Marley from this book most nights since school started. Designed to be said at the end of the day, they are written to bring peace and comfort and a feeling of protection.

Marley isn't too sure what to think of them. I don't have kids who have these amazingly precocious relationships with God. My kids don't want to pray. They don't want to talk about God. At least at home. By just reading the Compline prayer though, I feel like Marley gets to absorb a little perspective, have the prayer said over her--all without the pressure of having to be so vulnerable as to verbalize prayer requests or come up with words of her own.

Sometimes I try to break some things down for her. Tonight it was as simple as asking her if she knew what the word "Thy" meant. She thought it was a way to say "the." We also talked about God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. She has a pretty good handle on God the Son, but when you start adding in the rest of the Trinity, she's thrown for a loop. She is a very concrete thinker and at 8, I think God as three persons is just too much.

But talking about God as Father, I was able to share a little with her about the comfort of these prayers--how they are like God my Father holding me in his arms. We talked about the symbolism of being sheltered under his wings. I told her that I didn't have that type of relationship with my daddy, so I was grateful that I had a heavenly daddy to do what my "real" daddy didn't. I told her she was lucky because she has two daddies. (A look of complete confusion was on her face.) I told her that she has her "real" daddy and a heavenly one. She made sure I understood that she likes her "real" daddy the best. We wrapped up our "daddy discussion" with me explaining that her real daddy helps show her God's love and how he loves us.

It actually turned out to be quite the theological discussion.

One thing I was pleased about was that I was able to share with her my own need for a daddy. Right now I wish I was in a father's arms. I say 'a' because I can never say 'my'. Bill just never inspired that in me. It is partially because of him and the havoc he wreaked on my world that I am feeling so much in need of a parent these days. A daddy to hold me and love on me and tell me everything is going to be okay.  

I'm so glad I do have my heavenly one.

In the last week, what caused me desolation?

One reason I haven't been writing SWB posts is because I feel like my desolations are overwhelming my consolations.  In reality, making a point of doing the posts would probably have given me some much needed perspective.  But here I go...

Today in church I had a moment of clarity.  At one point in the sermon, the congregants were asked to consider a question:
Where am I finding my value?  Is it the right way, through knowing that I am a deeply loved child of God or am I trying some other way to feel valued and important?

Um...  er...

The truth is that my first response was "What value?"  No matter how much I can intellectually tell you of my value in God's eyes, my family's eyes, my friends' eyes, right now, I feel worthless.  And the energy it takes to counteract that gut feeling with what I know to be true is just not there right now.

I have enough energy to fake it briefly but I feel a bit like a pinball that is being propelled by the energy of someone else's efforts.

I can analyze all this to death--to a certain degree I have.  After all, it is what I do.  Analyze things.

But that isn't really the point.

No, I think the point is that I need to let go of the effort--the effort I think I should be making and what little effort I am actually making and turn to the Lord for support and comfort.  I think the Compline prayer from the other night was such a great opportunity for me to practice that.  


Softly as the dew-fall of heaven,
may the Holy Spirit come upon me
to aid me and to raise me,
to bind my prayer firmly
at the throne of the King of life.

God's will would I do,
my own will bridle;
God's due would I give,
my own due yield;
God's path would I travel
my own path refuse.

All whom I love,
into Your safe keeping;
all that I am,
into Your tender care;
all that will be,
into Your perfect will.

Cuthbert - Into a desert place
Celtic Daily Prayer 


Lamont said...

Mary Lue,
Thank you for re-connecting all of us in the bakery of life. I'm astounded by how many of us have been effected by health issues this week (that of self, friends or family members.) It helps to know we're speaking even the hard things with each other and to God.

Lamont said...

More RA ---
A previous band mate sent me a message today that her bone marrow tests proved she does in fact have leukemia. Many prayers going out to Rhonda and her family. Much sadness!

And the some TOB ---
My son had some tests last week on his heart that came back questionable.
I got the call today that his re-tests came back all normal and healthy. No restrictions or limitations on his activity.
Much joy!

Here again life is the blending of Tob and Ra.


atypical said...

Goodness, I commented to this in my head so loudly that I forgot to notice I never did it on a keyboard.

You know that "Um, er..." part? Yeah, well...

There is so much more I would love to say, but I am running away from home today and still have much to do.


Maddy said...

It's not good when the desolation outweighs the consolation.
Best wishes

Muthering Heights said...

I'm glad you were able to clarify some things for your daughter. I hope she continues to seek after God!