Monday, January 23, 2012

Praying without ceasing

I've been thinking about that call lately - to pray without ceasing.  Many years ago, someone asked me how, with three kids and one on the way, I found time to pray.  I answered then without pausing to think, that I prayed throughout the day, sometimes over the dishes or in the midst of changing diapers, soothing little ones, holding hands with their daddy while on a walk with the family, or doing laundry.  Stoplights are good, too.  That conversation stuck in my head because I hadn't realized at the time what I'd been doing.  Something about the sudden awareness, combined with the sweetness of praying peace and blessing over my people, big and small, while tidying also their more immediate, physical world, managing the quotidian...  Well.  I'm not going to claim that there's a reward in scrubbing toilets that extends beyond the clean toilet itself, but the combination of prayer and acts of service, done in love, with a joyful sacrifice?  The parallels to the big picture life we're meant to lead are stunning to me.  I continue to turn that conversation over in my head and find new things to think about it.

So the phrase has been bouncing around in my head again lately, especially as folks near and far have had a tough time, and sometimes their suffering looks to be taking the day, stealing the bliss out of the ordinary.  I was thinking back over 2010, and how glad I am that it's over.  There was this time, a stretch of weeks, wherein high drama, legal issues, health scares, kid stuff, financial swerves, bad news, and sundry emergencies were popping up not more than 72 hours apart.  It was a lot to take in.  I think right in the middle of all that was when I started pondering those words again.

As to what it means?  How to apply?  Well, I'm not really comfortable throwing out some sort of mandate or absolute, but this is what I think about when I think about praying without ceasing: We're supposed to take care of each other.  Sometimes it's a grace-filled, rich and profoundly rewarding thing, sometimes it's a balancing act, performed with swords and running chainsaws.  But it's the huge, all caps, shout it from the peaks, why of this life.  Jesus modeled it, told stories about it, asked it of us:  Love one another.  Those little spaces of prayer hold up our arms while we're working away, trying to make sense of things.  Those little spaces of prayer blunt the swords and chain saws, and allow grace to fill up and overlay not just the high points of time with our people, but also the disappointments and emergencies, adding to our resilience, enabling us for more than we might have suspected we had inside us.  And during those minutes, hours, weeks, whatever, when it just. keeps. coming?  Wow does that resilience, that focus and connection, wow does that make the difference.

Here's someone I "met" through a friend, someone who has already in her life as a young mom had the full allotment of opportunity to practice resilience and praying without ceasing.  I think she'd appreciate your prayers.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Mid January

Hello and Happy New Year!  We made it through the busy holiday season, with all the performances and scheduling disruptions.  The big kids went off for time with their dad.  Q saw him at the airport, which he loved, as always.  He no longer suspects the kids aren't returning, though he'd not in favor of them leaving.  Progress!

Early in the month we visited a new physician.  This visit was to talk about the possibility of eye surgery being combined with the hip surgery.  The doc was lovely, and the decision for now is to fix his lateral eye muscles and see how well that sticks.  The concerns are related to the quality of the tissue and whether or not Q would smack the area with his hands (in splints), thereby undoing the dissolving sutures.  If the sutures are disrupted or his muscles don't hold the correction well, the boomerang effect pushes his eyes farther along the continuum, in the wrong direction.  The nice lady would base the decision to go ahead with the medial adjustments on whether or not the lateral procedure holds.  She says the first would be less painful, less intrusive, and works better as a bit of a test run.  I don't know.  I feel like I usually walk out of medical appointments with a pretty clear idea of how we're proceeding and why, and I don't know why we'd do this.  I mean, the hope is that his eyes are physically steadier and appear to track together better.  But...  It doesn't seem likely that he's having double vision, since binocular vision is really a case of eyes alternating very quickly between them, not actually concurrent use of both.

I would so love to have a knowledgeable pocket elf at these visits, to weigh in and tip the scales decisively.  In lieu of that, I'll read some more, I guess.

In other news, the big boy is finding his way in high school.  The girls continue with school and are just about to begin the second half of the school year.  Q attends a developmental kindergarten three half days per week.  It's pretty awesome to see how each of the kids' early efforts is unfolding as they build upon acquired skills and knowledge.

We've welcomed a wee little new cousin and attended a memorial service for her grandpa, a very good man who is greatly missed.

The house is benefiting from a rework of chores assignments, and we're glad to have power back after a recent wild combination of snow, ice, and wind storms.  It was great for the kids to have prepped for the occasion with bread baking, cooking, and laundry.  We only had seven loads to do to catch up completely from two days without power.

We're all set for the next round, and have a greater appreciation for both our gas water heater and the need for good emergency preparedness.  Prescriptions and supplies work a little differently here than in many households.  Q's nutritional needs being what they are, we've got shelf-stable back up for him, in addition to the usual stuff you'd have on hand for everyone else.  We've got a shelf full of water in the garage, too.  And I'm thinking it's time to run through the list again, while there's no pressing need.

The house is quiet and we've a busy day tomorrow, getting ready to tackle the upcoming week, so I'm off.  Godspeed.