the problem with prayer and praise

What happens when 2 hookers walk into a 7-11 at 1 in the morning?

It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. But it’s actually the conclusion to one scary night.

Friday night, my little silver Hyndai Elantra was hit by a F-250, pushed into a Suburban, then up onto the curb. I was stunned. I was scared. I am sore. I spent 5 hours in the ER, getting an okay from the doctor. Afterwards, I bought donuts and milk at 7-11 (whilst hookers flirted with the clerk; see hook–pun intended). On the ever-necessary Facebook status, I posted that God was faithful… my accident could have been/ should have been much worse. Many of my loving friends posted the same kind of sentiment… God protected you! You had angels! I couldn’t agree more. I am grateful.

Except for the pit in my stomach, sunk deep by dark and heavy questions:

What about the what-I-assume-to-be-fatal-accident I drove by last month? Where was God’s faithfulness then? How come He was faithful to me, and not him/her/them?

What about those paralyzed by accidents? Where was God’s protection then?

And then, before I can catch my breath, the questions just drown me in the screaming stories of those I know: cancer? death? miscarriages? abuse? infertility?poverty? death beds?

Unanswered prayers haunt us all, but what of the fierce intensity of rejected prayers? Divine slaps in the face?

This is the problem of prayer. How do I ask for something that has been so clearly denied to someone I know? How do my blessings stifle the spirit of those around me?

This is the problem of praise. How do I accept something so many others have longed for, fruitlessly? How do I declare God’s faithfulness to me without indicting His apparent-faithlessness to someone else?

I do not know the answers to these questions.

But I want to know God.

And to know God is to thank Him even when He is not faithful. To know God is to look for the highest good, foreign as it may be. To know God is to accept what comes my way–the blessings and the curses–with presence for the presents, attentiveness to Divine attention, however it manifests. To know God is to write my own story, while non-judgmentally handing others pens and pencils and white-out and erasers to revise their own stories as well.

Beyond that, I cannot speak to matters of justice and fairness and rightness. But I can talk to the One who is Just, Fair, and Right. And to this invitation… I will be faithful.

 

 

 

the gift of yoga: to get and to give

buddhaMy first experience with yoga was a community college class in the evening when I was young. I remember such a heavy sense of  sleepiness every time I left class, I could barely drive home. No thanks, this gift was not yet for me.

Later in life, in Denver, I walked into a Core Power Yoga class at the Highlands. The foyer was awkwardly small, but the dim, mirrored room was warm and inviting. Music played gently, luring me into a rare soft space. There was time at the beginning of the class to set our intention–our prayer; that moment on my mat became a sanctuary. Class was about breath, but there was also sweat. Fingers of truth threaded throughout class reached into my soul, opening tight places and sealing broken places. I left, soaring. It was a gift.

Last week, I spent an evening hour in a C2 class at LoHi. After a whirlwind month of back to school meetings, demands, responsibilities new and old; the one-year anniversary of my Mom’s death and the accompanying emotional toil; the overwhelming demands of taking a certain amount of assigned yoga classes to get my certificate; concerns for my sister’s health; well, after all that, I was glad to just give myself, well, a gift. The gift of time, the gift of stillness, the gift of story-revision, the gift of self-care, the gift of breath–beautiful, bountiful, blissful, blessed breath.

storyAnd when I teach yoga, I am honored to give those gifts. It is a heart-joy and soul-food ministry of creating the space for people to find the gifts they need, the asana to remember and remain in breath, the cues to connect with what matters most, the touch of care and prayerful intention, the music to cradle their spirits, the words to touch something beyond that which is seen, and the language to create a new–and better–story.

 

it’s official!

I’m a 200-hour certified yoga teacher. Boom!

certificate

a new endeavor

Thanks to my hair-stylist extraordinaire, I am now a Wellness Consultant for doTERRA oils. Under the header “liquid” in my menu, I’ll be posting ways I’ve incorporated these top-notch essential oils into my lifestyle. To shop for oils, check out my website. To learn about buying oils at a discounted price, message me. To discover the varied and wondrous uses of doTERRA essential oils, check out their blog too!

her last month

August 5, 2013

Mom comes home from the doctor with positive news and a positive outlook.securedownload

flight
August 13, 2013

Mom arrives in Colorado for what would be her last trip to the place she loved dearly. Our time together entails adventures at the casino, the buffet, the dog park; drives through the mountains with affectionate hand-holding and back-rubbing; story-telling; chilly mornings in robes with cigarettes on the porch; visits from wildlife; long naps together in our bed.

Upon reflection, Mom slept a lot. There were questions that now haunt me. “Mom, why are you holding your stomach?” “Mom, why can’t you eat more?” “Do you feel bad Mom?”

mom colddog prkmom in chairbuff

 

August 27, 2013

Sitting outside of Dave’s work, I take a call from Joan. “Dork, I’m taking Mom to the hospital. She has flu-like symptoms. She called me and asked for helped, so you know it’s bad.”

joan updateAugust 28, 2013

Bad news. At school, I break down in my boss’s office. I come home, crumble to my knees, and call Dave’s Mom for prayers. I weep on the floor, holding Spooner, grasping for strength. I make arrangements to go home to my Mom.

my updateAugust 30, 2013

At the hospital, I am bedside with my Mom, where I should be. She is in good spirits, despite the fatal news. Dave, Joan, and I sit around her, positioned in a triangle-sentinel of care. We are recording her telling stories. We are imprinting her on our eternal soul. We are laughing, we are crying, we are living a good-bye that will come much faster than we could ever imagine.

August 31, 2013

Mom is released from the hospital and is glad to be home. Nova and I search several stores for access to her costly prescriptions. Overwhelmed by the amount of medicine and the fact she won’t be able to drive, something shifts in Mom; something shifts in Heaven.

We spend most of the evening on the porch, while Mom relives her past with vivid stories. She is surrounded by the love and listening ears of the Davenports, Nova, Chris, Dave and I. We eat Stir Crazy and Portillo’s, a feast of craving-conquerors.

mom'sSeptember 1, 2013

Today is Mom’s big day. Since we’ll be leaving soon, she decides to go big before she goes Home. We drive to Timbucktoo to eat at the Golden Corral and then we hit up the casino.duck facesjoan and momdave and mommom casino

That night, in the quiet dark, it is just my Mom and I, on the back porch, huddled beneath the soft glow of the wicker lamp. This night is our secret time; we are weaving invisible threads of gold between our souls. We spend hours in tearful conversation, planning for her passing, saying our good-byes, dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. I am so very tired, how much more Mom. But something deep within me whispers to treasure this night, this time. “Mom, you know how much I love you, right?” “Yes, Mary, yes…” A glint of gold catches the light.

leavingSeptember 2, 2013–AM

We leave for our drive back to Colorado, to work, to real life, to a cold chasm between our dying Mother and us. It is the hardest good-bye of our lives…until tomorrow.

September 2, 2013–PM

In the car, in the middle of Nebraska, I have a panic attack. I am not right. Something is not right. I contemplate going to the nearest ER. Dave contemplates punching me to snap me out of it. Deep within me, unknowingly, I feel her weakened heartbeat from across the miles.

In the car, near the Colorado-side of Nebraska, the phone rings. It is the curdling-sound of death. “Mom is bad. We’re taking her back to the hospital.” “How bad?” “…The doctors say you should get here as soon as possible.”

We drive forward. We turn around. We pull over. We look for flights from the nearest towns. We turn around again. We brainstorm how I can get home the quickest, to say good-bye, to hold her and tell her I love her one last time. It is my Dad all over again, rushing against the clock to be there. We don’t know what to do. We turn around again. Endless circles, powerless, just like our stomachs, our hearts’ endless terrified grief.

“Mom, I love you. We’re coming home. We’ll be there soon.” Weak, distant: “Ok, Mary.”

Endless miles. Endless tears. Endless fears.

September 3, 2013–AM

We pull up to the hospital, looming like an ivory grim reaper. Beating the clock, we are with her. She is heavily drugged, heavily pained, weak in cognition, weak in breath. The mottle march of bruises creeps up her legs like a ticking time bomb.

September 3, 20113–PM

Mom’s breath changes. She rolls over to her left side, tucks her hands into her chest, curled like a baby. This is how she always slept, and so she will now. We gather around her, laying our hands on her, channeling our gratitude and love through us to her–to each other. We chant over and over, “We are here for you Mom,” “We love you,” “Go be with Dad,” “We love you,” sanctifying her departure with our blessings as she has sanctified our lives with her strength and laughter and stories. She opens her eyes. She looks into the distance. Something changes in her eyes, in her face, in the room. Her breath becomes shallow, still; her chest softens. She smiles, a deep gesture, with a purity and innocence that is other-worldly.

No more of her breath finds its way to life. It is now, only, our breaths, the breaths of her beloveds, living the life she gave us.

 

 

 

 

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