Monday, March 8, 2010

It's rather amazing what a hefty dose of Vitamin D can do for a struggling soul.

It was Hannah's idea to go outside on Saturday, not mine. I'd been out for an errand, and though it was much warmer than it has been, the chill was still present.

"I just got out a book to read, babe," I told her.

"You can read outside," was her response, and I decided not to argue with her and just do it, because they have been cooped up too. We all have, within this chicken pen of winter, pecking and clucking for some freedom.

She went around collecting items that she insisted heralded spring's arrival, including rocks, the beret-like caps of acorns, some chives and holly leaves. It is one of the greatest joys of this life, watching my kids scoot around the yard with purpose. I see them now, unencumbered with doubt and stress, being present in the moment. Sometimes they drive me insane. Sometimes they teach me.

I've been struggling a bit with grace. I have yet to accept the fact that I'm not too busy to experience it. So then it tends to come along and wollop me, like some gigantic celestial hand slapping me across the head.

I wanted to thank God for all of this, and so I did, much to the chagrin of one of the priests at my church, who lit into my disrespectful butt during one of his homilies. (Well, he didn't directly yell at me, but I felt the sting nonetheless.) He suggested we are a bit too familiar with God and not nearly as reverential as we should be. (I can also tell you he is not my favorite priest, straight up.) Apparently, there is a specific formula for talking to God, and it can only be found on one's knees and using a lofty tone.

So Hannah and I looked at the snowdrops together. I tried to show her to look inside, to lift each drooping head and look down, inside the petals, but she was too distracted. It was intoxicating, all the air and the sunlight.

So she ran off, looking for something else, as I sat on the deck reading Merton. In between the glimpses of a life just about to enter a monastery, I see Hannah, hopping around, jumping from stepping stone to stepping stone, a girl involved in her own version of prayer. It made me supremely happy.


Heather said...

This is such a lovely post.

mayberry said...

That homily sounds awful! If it's typical of that priest, no wonder you don't like him.

Anonymous said...

It is fabulous to be outside. I'll even take driving without gloves! Zooming off without warming up the car! Yes, we're all in a hurry, aren't we?

My kids are a little older, and I am working on getting them to play outside without me, but really, sometimes I still need them to draw me out, literally and figuratively.

Without having anything specific to point to, I'm sure there are many scholars who would disagree with that priest on various levels. Prayer is many, many things, and there is NOT one right way or one better way. It does make me laugh a little, though, thinking back to my catechism class last night. We were going over the parts of the Mass in detail, and had gotten to the part during/ just after Eucharist when people are concluding their prayers. One of the teachers (who is younger and also teaches youth group) said this is a great time to offer up any personal prayers you may have, so they may be carried up to heaven by all the prayers of the congregation. Without directly contradicting her, the other teacher (a nun with attitude) strongly stressed that Mass is NOT a time for personal prayer at all - it is by definition a time of communal prayer. Some people might think the class is boring, but it's one of the more entertaining hours of my week.