You could read about swimming all day but still not know how to, or you can jump in the lake! Dive in!
We are half way on our journey to 31! I’m not sure why this feels so significant to me. Perhaps it is the organic nature of this endeavor: a text I sent to friends seeking community and accountability while working at summer camp turn international community of intentionality, prayer, and mindfulness? Or simply the fact that I have stated a goal and actually followed through on it! Regardless, I am proud of us. Many of us are perfect strangers who are people from all walks, many countries, all faiths, and no faith agreeing to just be quiet for a bit. To say thank you. To notice the flowers on our walk and to smell the coffee in our mug. To make time and be still. To notice.
To exhale, drop our shoulders and to smile or apologize, whichever the moment calls for.
I’m moved by that. That hunger for depth & meaning making. That hunger for community. That noticing and greeting what co
mes up in our #31minsforpeace.
I must confess that I feel odd attempting to provide guidance to this Spirit-led undertaking. It feels like attempting to write a book on how to swim, when really the way to learn to swim is to jump in and submerse yourself with it, fear and all. To figure out what works for you. To figure out what doesn’t work for you. We don’t need more words from me, that goes against the very nature of #31minutesforpeace. I think we need to jump into the deep end of being quiet, wherever we find those moments: after putting the baby down, or sitting in our desk before we open our dreaded work email for the day, or in our prayer chair.
So today, instead of tips or tricks, I simply leave you with a brilliant poem by my friend Pádraig Ó Tuama from his stellar book, In The Shelter. I know of no greater excerpt to describe my prayer life than this bit here. Go raibh maith agat, Pád! (Thanks!)
Take a minute of your 31 and just smile, knowing there are others around the world in this same endeavor of sitting and noticing.
“And still the world is good…” happy sitting,
Neither I nor the poets I love found the keys to the kingdom of prayer and we cannot force God to stumble over us where we sit. But I know that it’s a good idea to sit anyway. So every morning I sit, I kneel, waiting, making friends with the habit of listening, hoping that I’m being listened to. There, I greet God in my own disorder. I say hello to my chaos, my unmade decisions, my unmade bed, my desire and my trouble. I say hello to distraction and privilege, I greet the day and I greet my beloved and bewildering Jesus. I recognise and greet my burdens, my luck, my controlled and uncontrollable story. I greet my untold stories, my unfolding story, my unloved body, my own love, my own body. I greet the things I think will happen and I say hello to everything I do not know about the day. I greet my own small world and I hope that I can meet the bigger world that day. I greet my story and hope that I can forget my story during the day, and hope that I can hear some stories, and greet some surprising stories during the long day ahead. I greet God, and I greet the God who is more God than the God I greet.
Hello to you all, I say, as the sun rises above the chimneys of North Belfast.