Tag Archives: prayer

Day 35: an explanation.

I missed two days of blogging. In a row.

Sunday, I chose to skip. I was with folks all day. I went to church in the morning and out to lunch right after. My friend and I spent the afternoon get our nails done, and then my boyfriend and I went back to church for a core team meeting. We then hung out at my apartment until fairly late, since we barely saw each other last week. By the time he left, it was past my bedtime and I knew I would feel nothing but resentment if I had to bang out a post when I was ready for bed. So I skipped, with every intention of apologizing yesterday.

Yesterday, I wound up getting so sick I could barely function. I first felt off-kilter just as I was leaving work and found myself shivering on the bathroom floor less than six hours later. I had chills and aches and muscle cramps. You know, your average miserable flu patient. I finally told my boyfriend to go home once I started throwing up. The sicker I get, the less I want company. Sniffles? Sure, hang out, dote upon me. Bad headache? You can stay, but keep your distance. Vomiting? Get the hell away from me.

Thankfully, it was a true 24-hour bug. I woke up absolutely miserable with aches and that icky my-skin-hurts feeling, but I spent most of the day napping, watching movies, and nibbling saltines and finally felt mostly normal by late afternoon. So here I am. Writing. And eating oatmeal. Real food!

I did have a surprising moment, though. It happened last night, after I’d kicked Jackson out and dragged myself from the bathroom floor to the couch. I was curled up under my blanket, being totally pathetic and making noises halfway between a whimper and a sob. I was so uncomfortable, so miserable, so unbelievably sick that I actually started talking to God. I wouldn’t call it formal prayer, per se, but I was asking, out loud, for him to help me, to heal me. Please, I begged.

I don’t think I’ve ever done that before. I’m still learning how to turn to God in time of need. A few months ago, I was upset over a hurtful comment and cried it all out to God himself, but this time I was just physically miserable. And I asked him for help. I didn’t notice a marked difference, but just asking for his help… helped.

And he clearly listened, since I’m now halfway through this bowl of oatmeal with nothing but happy sounds coming from my tummy. To think I had my chin on the toilet seat not 24 hours ago… God is good indeed.

Hoping you are well.

Day 13: 10 awesome things about living alone.

I live alone. In college, I had single rooms, but I had to share bathrooms, kitchens, common living spaces with others. But no longer. I have my little apartment all to myself. I’m five months into solo living and I am happy as a clam. I’m also feeling rather listy, so let’s list it up.

1. I can wear (or not wear) whatever I want.

If I don’t feel like wearing pants (which, let’s face it, is always), I don’t wear pants. If I put on a nightie two hours before bedtime, no one’s around to judge. Only one foot is cold? One sock it is.

2. I don’t have to share my supper.

I love cooking for people more than anything, but I also like not being pestered for “just a few!” while munching my way through an entire bag’s worth of edamame. 2.5 servings my ass.

3. No one contaminates my dishes.

When I had roommates, I hated scrubbing bacon grease off their dishes (and I was always doing their dishes) before I could cook my veggie meals on them. Now the only food that enters my kitchen is 100% vegan, and it gives me great peace of mind.

4. My house, my rules.

I have a rule: no animal products in my apartment. First of all, I love having the right to make this rule. Second of all, I love having the kind of friends that respect it so willingly. It motivates me to make extra-delicious vegan food for them. Green pea and lemon risotto with roasted red peppers, anyone?

5. I rule the remote.

It’s all Big Bang Theory all the time over here. BAZINGA.

6. Weird food choices go un-judged.

I’ve already admitted that I demolish family-sized bags of edamame. I don’t owe you any more embarrassing confessions. But yes, I once googled “cucumber pancakes” because I wanted cucumbers and pancakes. They were delicious. Also: the occasional spoonful of peanut butter.

7. Tidiness is possible.

If there’s a mess, it’s my mess, and I clean it up. No more grumbling over a roommate’s schoolwork all over the coffee table or makeup smeared on the sink. Then again, there’s no one to blame but me for neglected dishes, but this is the price we pay.

8. Guests are always welcome.

If I want my boyfriend to come over, I needn’t ask anyone’s permission. Nor do I need to explain weird behavior, like, “Um, hey, Jackson’s writing a song about groundhogs on his guitar, so… sorry if it gets loud.” And yes, this did actually happen. And yes, it was exactly as awesome as it sounds.

9. I can talk/sing to myself whenever I want.

You haven’t really showered until you’ve belted out “Canticle of the Turning” while scrubbing behind your ears. And cucumber pancakes cook better when you talk to them.

10. I can pray out loud.

And I do.

This is a partial and growing list. The awesomeness never ends.

Day eight: Ash Wednesday, take two.

I woke up sick as a dog on Ash Wednesday.

Shaky and achey, I went back and forth between shivering and sweating, curled in a miserable ball on my clammy sheets. My head throbbed, my mouth tasted like asphalt, and my throat was parched. It was unpleasant.

I was heartbroken that I missed the Ash Wednesday chapel service at work. However, my body tends to fight off sickness pretty quickly, so I was well enough to attend Ash Wednesday service that night at my own church. “Thank goodness,” I thought. “Now it’ll really feel like lent has begun.”

It… didn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, it was lovely. We sang songs and said prayers and I left with an ash cross on my forehead. But it didn’t really feel like Ash Wednesday. My church, which I began attending several months ago when I moved to Chicago, prefers a pretty contemporary worship style. Most of the time, I love it. But for lent, I wanted something different.

Tonight was Holden Evening Prayer.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced a Holden evening prayer service, but my word, if it isn’t the most beautiful thing inside the four walls of a church. The music is beautiful, the words are beautiful, the simple ritual is beautiful. I can’t even explain why I love it, but I do. And it resonated more with me tonight than it ever has before.

A few months ago, the Magnificat of Mary was sung to me by a woman I very much admire. Listening to her sing, I was floored. Mary came alive in this woman, became a real flesh-and-blood person who had swollen ankles and morning sickness and carried the messiah. She became so real to me, more than just a character. Advent itself became so real, and I spent the remaining weeks leading up to Christmas with a new and amazing sense of longing. Which, as they say, is what Advent is all about. Finally, it was real.

I didn’t go to church much (or at all) in college, so I hadn’t heard the Holden evening prayer in a number of years. When I heard it tonight, it was like everything came back. The reverent evening services, the candles, my mother’s voice leading the call-and-response part of the evening, the congregation’s single voice responding, the way the music made me feel. I didn’t understand at the time that I was feeling God’s presence.

Now I do.

I felt it tonight. I felt it in the people around me, in my two friends who led service, in the beautiful, simple music of the Holden evening prayer.

Come and light our hearts anew.

Let my prayer rise up like incense before you.

God of mercy, hold us in love.

It stops my heart.

The calendar Ash Wednesday didn’t feel like much to me.

Today, my real Ash Wednesday, felt like everything.