Boxing Day: 8:00 am
Bonnie and I are at an art store to buy canvases and other art supplies at 70% off. My heart is feeling lonely for God. I've been so busy with visitations and relatives over the past week, I have not been still to pray a minute except at the Christmas services, which--thank God--were peaceful and beautiful and I think many busy people were able, for a few minutes, to find themselves and pray.
I talked to one of my daughters on the phone this morning. She spent the Christmas liturgy wrestling with her three children in a little mission church in Arkansas--with nowhere to take the children except outside where it was 20℉ (-7℃) and threatening snow. Now that's life as prayer. I'm very proud of my little girl. It's a huge sacrifice to raise children who pray, who love the Church, who have the opportunity to feel the knocking of God on the door of their hearts. Raising children in the Church is an exercise in self sacrifice. Parents are distracted and unable to pray as they would like so that their children can smell the incense, hear the prayers, see the icons, and feel the "something" of the Presence of the Holy Spirit tugging at their hearts.
Most of us in the world pray a great deal, not by being quiet, but by freely giving our quiet to others--out of love. It's not that we do not have our moments of quiet prayer--like occasional buoys of hope and rest we hang onto for a moment before we must begin another long swim across the sea of our life. And there are seasons of life--single adulthood and the empty-nest time, for example--when it is not too difficult to find, if we want it, regular time to be still and know that God is God. Until the grand children visit or the family gets together or the demands of life and work and love compel us to stay busy for others. It's an offering given in love. It is life as prayer.
A word from St. Ephraim the Syrian:
The Lord does not seek the monk or the layperson, the scholar or the simpleton, the rich man or the pauper, but only the heart that thirsts for God, full of sincere desire to be true to Him and His commandments.