Prayers from the Island Cry in the Dark

Cry in the Dark

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 Last night as I lay in bed, I heard an owl hooting softly in the darkness.  I thought of the terror that ‘hoot’ must bring to the small and even larger creatures who live in harmony with us—crabs, mice, snakes, feral cats, young raccoons and possums—all must listen to that sound with fear in their hearts, burrowing deeper into whatever secure niche they’ve found.  I think too, as I lay there, of the sounds I hear in the night that trouble me—an ambulance racing past, the shriek of a wounded animal, even voices from my past that accuse or blame me, voices that name sins I’ve committed.  I thank you, Lord, for the secure niche you’ve given me, and the assurance that in your love I am forgiven.  May I ask forgiveness of others and grant it to all who’ve wronged me.  May my night be a time of peaceful rest. Amen.

 

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Seeing ClearlySeeing Clearly

Early this morning, the sky was clear and sharp, visibility unrestricted.  I could see small details on the mainland, clearly distinguish a ship on the ocean.  But now the humidity has risen and my vision is impaired.  I have difficulty making out a barge in the bay, and the houses near us are becoming blurred.  My sense of the future sis like that; sometimes I make plans as if the future were mine alone to control, commanding and governing all facets of tomorrow’s arrival.  At other times, I can barely distinguish the next hour, uncertain and fearful.  I think you, Lord, that you have tomorrow in your grasp, that I can close my eyes, place my hand in yours, and walk with confidence.  Thank you for reassuring me that your vision is always for my good—your love for me always clear-eyed. Amen.

Broken BeautyBroken Beauty

Friends came for dinner last night and bought me a piece of handmade jewelry. The pin is formed of overlapping pieces of shell glued to create a design as rhythmical as the surf, as revealing as the sand shore. Different shells capture the light in varying ways, catching and holding, reflecting, or framing a small pearl set in a tiny shell at the pin’s center. Even holes drilled by predators become part of the design. If I had seen these broken pieces of shell on the shore, I would have been blind to their beauty, but in the hands of my talented friend, their loveliness is revealed. Perhaps God’s church is like this pin, broken pieces of shell gathered and amalgamated to form a beautiful whole Each piece, with it own separate gifts combines to form a unified whole, reinforcing where there is weakness, strengthening where there is need, celebrating when there is victory. Even holes, pierced by the pain of living, become part of the design, allowing pieces to come together. Thank you, Lord, for this reminder that our brokenness is perfected in your presence, made beautiful though your touch. Amen.

Walking Without PurposeWalking Without Purpose

A friend asked me what I “do” when I walk on the beach each day. “Do you hunt for shells? Are you using that time to think deep thoughts or plan menus?” she wondered. I couldn’t honestly answer her, though I tried. Perhaps the most healing aspect of a beach walk is its lack of an agenda. There is nothing to do on the beach but place one foot before the other; nothing more is required. Sometimes I am intensely aware of the sun and the wind, but often they’re irrelevant. When I see an unusual shell or bird or dolphin, my attention is fastened upon it, but more typically I’m oblivious to the thousands of shells and birds that surround me. I take very little notice of the people I pass, hardly responding to them other than a nod or “Good morning”. Sometimes I have a problem in mind, but it may evaporate as I walk, perhaps reappearing later in the day. Or I may bring with me a happy event and walk with a slight smile tracing my lips. I am, during the time I walk, as fully open to God as if I were in prayer. I am responding to a thousand tiny cues too small to differentiate, but touches that heal, restore, and reactivate me. Thank you, Lord, for allowing me the privilege and pleasure of a walk where I am free to feel your presence surround me. May I take with me the renewed strength this shared time provides. Amen.