Prayers from the Island Finding a Feather

Finding a Feather

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  Today on my beach walk, I came across a feather.  It lay in the sand, perfect in shape, a swift, arching curve.  I picked it up, running my fingers over its simple complexity.  I wonder if the owner knew of the feather’s loss, or if it simply fluttered down as the bird soared overhead in search of food.  Perhaps it was scarcely acknowledged as it went missing.  I turned around to see my footprints in the sand; I wonder now what I leave behind me, what traces do others come across.  Is what I leave behind beautiful or sordid?  I wonder, dear Father, if others can see you in my footprints.  Do I leave behind a message of hope, of encouragement, of love?  What words have my lips last spoken?  Where did my feet last visit?  What message did my hands last shape?  Does my path seem strewn with careless and selfish refuse, with ugly words, with mean spirited thoughtlessness?  O please help me, Heavenly Father, to walk in your path, to leave behind in my wake all that testifies I share my path with you.

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ChangeChange

I received a letter from an old friend today.  Her health is not good, and I worry about her future.  I don’t want things to change!  Living on an island I have grown accustomed to change, difficult as that may be.  The beach itself varies from day to day, widening and narrowing the places I walk, removing vegetation or depositing new seedlings.  And yet I want to hold unto the known and the familiar, reluctant to release what I have come to love.  O Lord, please help me see that change is the essence of our earthly lives.  I need to appreciate with more open awareness the beauty of the moment so I can recall its absence with love and happiness.  Forgive me for holding too fiercely to the past, blinding myself to the future joys prepared for me by you.  I pray that you would open my clenched fists—may they be hands stretched wide to embrace each moment of my life—hands open to reach out for your hand. Amen.

Longer DaysLonger Days

The days are growing longer now, as the sun continues to stay overhead later into the evening and waken earlier each morning.  When I rise from bed, I can already see the blush of dawn and the sky is starting to lighten.  I could consult the newspaper and identify the exact difference each day’s length will be, but I prefer to discover the additional light myself, through my own experience.  The numbers may predict the hours of light, but it is God who causes the sun to shine, the moon to light the night, and the world to move at his ordering.  I thank you, Lord, for the daylight hours of work and play and for the night of peace and rest.  You have given us a world of order and stability whose regularity is a sign of your love, your creation, your power, and your glory. Amen.

Controlled BurnControlled Burn

  There is a controlled burn on the mainland.  Acrid smoke hangs heavy in the air; its path covers everything and blurs my vision.  We’re told the burn is necessary because it destroys underbrush that catches fire far too easily, quick fuel for blazes than can then be controlled only with great effort and expense.  I have “underbrush” in my life as well—negative thoughts I’ve let accumulate.  Unless I ‘control burn’  them, they are fuel for fires that destroy my right relationship with God, with others.  They lie on the dry forest floor of my mind, fueled by thoughts that are critical, judgmental, hypercritical.  Only a spark of anger can set them ablaze so easily, but putting them out is difficult.  Please, dear Lord, help me burn away this debris so my relationship with you can be lush, green, and free of destructive negativity.  May the air I breathe, may the breezes that blow through my mind, flow freshly through the breath of the Holy Spirit. Amen.