Monday, May 26, 2008

Bits of poetry and prayer

The Moss Garden

Somewhere outside Kyoto's line, she said,
they stumbled across the famous garden of moss,
the smallish sign so plain it could have been
overlooked. No temple, only moss.
So they entered the walkway with little expectation,
the silence creeping in, much like expectation.

Instead of leading them to the garden directly,
two monks had led them to a different task,
requested they copy three hundred characters,
the ink and paper set down for the task.
And this, too, was a practiced form of prayer,
left behind for those who had forgotten prayer.

The monks left brushes, ink, and bowls of water.
They asked the seekers to write, to pray. But prayer,
any prayer, wasn't easy. The brush and ink,
the doubting hand, made not for simply prayer.
And even as I write this, I do not want to pray.
This story changes nothing; I do not want to pray.

~ C. Dale Young


Sometimes it is hard for me to pray. It is hard to bring myself to my knees and present my supplications to God. I like to believe that God already knows my heart's desires and is in the process of addressing them, which allows me, then, to believe that even thinking my prayers is enough.

However, I'm not sure I buy that argument anymore. Seems like a passive way to go about life, doesn't it? If I cannot use my own voice to ask, then how can I receive?

I've been meditating on the point of prayer recently and the following came to me.

Perhaps the point of prayer is that it develops the art of asking. Perhaps prayer is really just learning to become comfortable with having needs and vocalizing them. Perhaps prayer is acceptance of our vulnerabilities and the acknowledgment that we all need a little assistance in our lives from time to time. Perhaps it is an invitation for someone to lend a hand or a hug or a tissue. Perhaps we pray to know we are not alone.

It is likely an amalgamation of the above thoughts. It is also most likely a reminder that I must cultivate a rich prayer life so that when my answers begin to arrive, they will find fertile ground in which to grow and expand.

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