Tuesday, October 30, 2012
We are without power after Hurricane Sandy swept through last night, and expect to be for a couple of days more. We are lucky; there is no damage to the house, and we have food, a way to cook and the enormous blessing of hot water. I am writing this by the light of a flashlight, diffused through a glass of water, in a house bereft of the hum of the refrigerator, or the whirring of the furnace fan. The winds have ceased and even the rain is so quiet I cannot hear it on the roof. It's the gift of a temporary hermitage.
Still and silent as these night times of prayer may be, it does not necessarily follow that they are always serene. Jacob isn't the only one who wrestles with angels in the night. Last week I spent a night of prayer that was anything but serene. What does it mean to pray on the sharp edge of "now" -- not of what has been, not of what might be, but present to this very moment? The Boy was missing (or at least I thought he was, turns out he was in his bed), and I prayed, in that painful space of uncertainty.
I was hugely relieved when Chris called at 6:40 am to let me know he was fine, but relief notwithstanding, the experience — along with Robin's sermons on Job — has permeated my prayer since. You can read some of what I'm thinking in this piece posted at This Ignatian Life, or better yet, you can do as I did in prayer last night, contemplate Marilyn Nelson's poem Matins (2:30 am) which explores these same landscapes of anxiety and poverty of spirit.
I love the ambiguity of her penultimate lines:
or how to spell relief.
Jesus. I must be the smallest
grain of the salt of the earth.
Posted by Michelle at 10:40 PM