This may come as a surprise to you (I know it definitely has to me!), but the longer I walk down the path toward God, the more drawn I am to already-written prayers. I find such ease in just reading, such comfort in finding my own feelings and thoughts already amply expressed, such unity in knowing that these are all prayers God has already fielded from so many holy mouths. I also find tremendous freedom of focus, having only to coax my heart into alignment with the words rather than to invent the words with my brain and coax my heart into alignment.
Today I offer you a prayer. I suppose that you could consider it an open prayer, along the lines of the open letter which is a cultural norm in our day. It is both a prayer for your sake and a prayer for your employ. I mean, I have already prayed it to God on your behalf and now I share it with you as a prayer that you may read to God on behalf of yourself and others. Don’t just read it. Try praying it.
I imagine your favor as being always in my periphery, as if you inhabit every corner of my home, my workplace, my neighborhood, my city, our world. You are too humble to appear front and center in every frame of my life. You prefer to sit at my side, to wait in the wings, to condescend yourself into a position of steady support. And yours is not the shallow support of a cheerleader – a baseless, arbitrary romance toward one team and a baseless, arbitrary hatred toward the other. No, yours is a deep and particular support for however and whatever leads ultimately to the Best Good for all. Couched in Wisdom. Founded in Reality.
I imagine turning occasionally to glimpse you and that whenever our eyes meet you are wearing a broadly goofy grin, nearly beside yourself with excitement just to be thought of and to have caught my attention for a moment. “Just admiring you,” you say. The smile takes over your entire face. It is almost an ugly smile, it is so robust. It makes me a bit uncomfortable. Anyone who has seemed to like me so much has always had ulterior motives. But there is something different about this grin. You seem simply, blissfully not to be aware of the social graces that keep most of us from expressing our uninhibited enthusiasm for whatever, whomever we love. It occurs to me that you are exactly like a child in this way. I cannot help it – a laugh bursts from my throat and out my mouth. It sounds fairly like a guffaw. I guess it is just that your face so caught me off guard. It is so unabashedly sincere, so indescribably splendid, and yet so innocently light-hearted. For a moment I am embarrassed at the abruptness of my laugh; it must have seemed fairly rude, to laugh essentially in your face. But you show no signs of embarrassment, even on my behalf. Social graces drown in the wake of instinct — of spontaneous reaction to life as it comes to you.
And so: what else could I do? In the face to so much emanating favor, and that directed so intently, so unobligatorily… toward me.The only thing to do was: laugh.
I suppose that it was my receipt of your favor.
I suppose that it was your receipt for your favor.
I think it might have been all you wanted.