Last weekend, I found myself crispy. Really crispy. A series of family events had left me drained and fractured, with nothing to give. I was supposed to preach the Good News, and the truth was that I needed some myself.
What I wanted was to go to a monastery, but I did not have the time to do that. So, instead, I decided to give myself, not a stay-cation, but a stay-retreat. I turned off the electronic devices (mostly). I read a mystery novel. I read The Yoke of Jesus, by Addison Hodges Hart, which I strongly recommend. I journaled and did yoga and took long walks and spent hours in meditation and silent prayer. I read the Bible. I ate far too much Ben and Jerry’s. And by the end of Saturday, I was human again. My heart had recovered some spaciousness, my mind, some grace.
Here’s the thing. All the people in my family who were struggling, still are. This was not about prayer that would change any of the circumstances of our lives. But prayer also changes us, allows us to enter those challenging situations and encounter those broken people with a deep grounding of peace, and with a spirit that has room to take in the pain of those we love and enclose that pain in love. To hold the sorrow, and wait for the light.
But this does not happen without intention. This weekend, try making space for prayer. Not for five minutes, but for longer. Create some space for quiet and be still in it. Walk in a garden without your headphones or your smartphone. Journal. Open yourself to the spirit of God, and let God have some time to shape you.
Your to-do list will still be there, but you will be different. Thanks be to God.