mary / she moves behind me / she leaves her fingerprints everywhere / everytime the snow drifts, everytime the sand shifts / even when the night lifts / she’s always there … mary / you’re covered in roses / you’re covered in ruin / you’re covered in secrets / you’re covered in treetops / covered in birds / covered in a million songs without any words (patty griffin)
sitting in wisdom literature class at roberts wesleyan college, then professor martin predicted mitch and i would get married. or, really, he used us as an example of the confusion that occurs in prayer and hearing god’s wisdom.
mitch and i hadn’t starting dating at the time, and knew one another only as acquaintances. dr. martin pointed out that it’d be a bit crazy if mitch approached me and said: “god told me we should get married.” my response – and i agreed that it would be my response – would have been something like: “well, god didn’t tell me that!”
and so it goes that hearing god’s wisdom and call is tricky business.
for lent this year, i re-tried on extemporaneous prayer as a regular discipline. i’ve seen and experienced non-prayer-book prayer as powerful, life-giving, and eye-opening. but i’ve also seen and experienced it as manipulative, showy, and shallow. and so with those memories and anne lamont’s help, thanks, wow, i began my experiment.
now several weeks after lent, i’m happy to report that praying has added a new level of beauty and terror to my life. and i am grateful for it.
the rawness i feel admitting to god – and therefore to myself – that i don’t have life figured out is beautiful and freeing. i believe god speaks to me through my gut, my intuition. when i follow my gut, i can be talked out of it by myself or others. when i follow god through my gut, i have a sense of rightness that is downright terrifying. powerful, but terrifying. and i’m still not sure what to do with it.
between meetings in los angeles earlier this week, i found myself in the sanctuary of st. john’s cathedral. cathedral spaces and wild spaces do the same thing for my soul. i feel a sense of openness, vitality, vulnerability, and rightness. my time at st. john’s was no different. being open to god, my gut, and my intuition makes me feel vulnerable. what if i’m wrong? what if how i feel god moving contradicts someone else’s intuition? why does vulnerability feel so terrifying yet open up such amazing possibilities?
and then i read about peace.
and then i wandered and took some pictures.
and then i shed a tear for ella.
and then i left, feeling tired, powerful, and beautiful.