Prayers from the Island A Breeze’s Touch

A Breeze’s Touch

As I write this, seated alone in my room, a breeze plays over me from the open window. It isn’t a continual presence, but small puffs, gusts, and eddies that cool me. The breeze is scented with pine resin, with flowers that bloom on the porch, with the thickness of warm bay water under a hot sun, and with the salty scent of the sea. Papers stir on my desk, the curtains shift and bump against the screen, and I am stroked and touched by this gentle wind, my hair lifted and rearranged. How like God’s love is this breeze, surrounding me, cooling me, making me aware of its presence in the most gentle and loving fashion. I am fully aware, however, that the wind may disappear or may turn treacherous and destructive, but God’s love will always be there for me, bathing me in forgiveness for my sins, encouraging me in loving acts, and touching me with love holier than I could ever deserve. Thank you, Lord, for the breezes in my life. May their touch help remind me of your continual presence and love. Amen.

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A Gift in the SeaweedA Gift in the Seaweed

As we walked on the beach this morning, my husband spotted a lure caught in seaweed. He picked it up, carefully removed the debris from the multiple hooks, and decided it was worth keeping. What a treasure—to find something on the beach that would have cost money to purchase—to find it there free for the taking! We both grinned with delight at our discovery, proud to be taking home a small gift from the sea. It is exciting to stumble across a bit of treasure—a coin, float, child’s abandoned toy, or a useable bobber. The idea of “something for nothing” is difficult to accept, especially in a culture where “you get what you pay for”. Thank God I don’t “get what I pay for”. All the money in the world could not pay the ransom of my soul, but God has placed this gift before me in the person of His own son, who died for my sins. I need do nothing more than take advantage of this gift, like picking up the lure on the beach today, and make it my own. Dear Heavenly Father, how grateful I am for the gift you set before me. Help me live my life with appreciation and thanks, directing others to their free gift as well. Amen.

I’m AngryI’m Angry

Dear Heavenly Father–all of us must go through the shared experience of coping with COVID-19.  Friends have various methods of surviving. Some are bored, binge watching Netflix or immersing themselves in video games to escape reality. They stare out the windows mindlessly, and when I speak with them on the phone, they sigh, overwhelmingly weary.

Others among my friends are in a state of perpetual fear.  Endless TV coverage of the disease feeds their alarm, whether those numbers reflect a free-fall economy or the growing total of the ill or dead. Temperatures and symptom discussion occupy all conversations. In their voices I hear the tremolo of fear, a wavering indicating their panic.

A smaller number of friends respond to the virus with an enviable state of calm; they use public media sparingly, only to be informed but not absorbed.  They observe all the protective rules, but do so without drama or hysterics.  Their voices are calm, measured.

However, Lord, I fall into none of these categories.  Mostly I am angry.  Very angry. Rage-like angry. It’s a waste of time to be angry at something invisible. My anger is diffuse—broad spectrum. I’m angry some people are called on to risk their lives for public good.  Those who provide us with fuel, groceries, mail, packages, and food are suddenly thrust into danger.  Public health and safety personnel, doctors, nurses, orderlies, and all the hospital staff, are now at risk.  I’m angry knowing many of them have families of their own who may be exposed.

I am angry at those who flout the protections–coughing on produce, spitting at older people, gathering in large groups where the virus is easily spread.  I understand that the young feel immortal; what I don’t understand is their lack of respect for others far more vulnerable.

Perhaps I’m most angry at my own helplessness.  I want to do something, but what?  I’ve been robbed of all the tools I might use to combat COVID-19.  I need the company of my friends, their physical presence, their hugs.  I want to sit with them, share a meal, know they are still well.  The internet Sunday service heightened the importance of the Body of Christ, and its vital role in a church experience.  I felt alone, lacking the reinforcement of those around me.  We touch because we are human, and denied touch we are more isolated, more vulnerable, more easily frightened.  Finally, I’m angry at You, God.  How could You permit this pandemic?  Where are You while Your world falls apart?  I’m angry at You and that only adds to my helplessness.

And so Lord, I come to you with all my human frailties.  In my heart I recognize anger is a pointless and futile response.  Please help me channel that anger–all that energy—all that determination into useful behavior.  If I am limited in personal connections, help me connect through prayer.  Help me channel my anger, broadening it beyond my usual prayer requests.  Help me pray for a world in peril, pray for all those who are ill;  immigrants, the world’s poor, those who experience the intestinal side effects of COVID-19.  Particularly be with those who live in tents, caves, and holes in the ground lacking all sanitary protections.  Be with those paralyzed by fear; help them to come to You in trust.  Be with those who don’t appreciate their own mortality, and fail to understand the vulnerability of others, especially the aged.  Be with those who risk their own safety to protect the public good.  Remind us we live in a fallen world; while it was not You who caused the virus, You will ultimately create good from it.  May each of us use our emotions, our strength, and our energy to draw closer to you, recognizing our dependency.  May this be a time of prayerful contemplation, channeling our emotions into Your service.  This, Lord, is my prayer.

Don’t Touch!Don’t Touch!

Today, early in the morning, I approached an unfamiliar object on the beach, just above the water line. Its label warned that it was dangerous, phosphorous-filled, and should not be touched. The finder was asked to notify the police or military. The discovery saddened me. In the midst of so much serene beauty, under skies still washed with dawning light, I had stumbled upon something that hinted of death and destruction, something unconnected with the morning’s beauty. I remembered the passage from Philippians where we are told to think of what is pure and lovely. I tried to fix my thoughts on the right, the pure, the admirable, the excellent, and the praiseworthy. As I reported the object to the park ranger, my duty was complete. But now I need your help, Lord to find a way to live in this world with its unpleasant realities and still reach for you and your perfection of goodness and beauty. Help me find beauty even in the midst of ugliness. May I put aside this ugly object and try to be an agent of peace and beauty in a troubled, violent world. Amen.