Tag: faith Page 2 of 3

Afraid of a Different Darkness

Somewhere, somebody thought it was a good idea to write a prayer service for night. What I never understood until now is that it wasn’t just the literal darkness that occupied their most urgent words for God.

I’m sitting here trying to remember when I was first aware that I was afraid of the dark.

I’m not afraid of the dark anymore, of course, at least, not in any kind of paralyzing way. Occasionally I’ll be downstairs in our house, with all the lights off, and I’ll scoot up the steps with an extra boost of adrenaline with the notion that someone–something–was lurking in the shadows, waiting for me.

I know it’s silly. But such a feeling gave me a well of empathy for our daughter when she went through a spell demanding we leave her closet light on through the nighttime. And while we can at least extinguish that bulb these days, she still sleeps with a nightlight. A few, actually. Most nights, we say a little prayer that she sleeps through the night without bad dreams.

Sundays | For the birds. And titmice.

A Tufted Titmouse. Via allaboutbirds.org

Learning to love the least of these, my brethren.

One of my favorite things about our new house is that it has several big windows, which look out onto a wooded yard. Given how the house sits on a sloped lot, and the land falls away in the back, it can feel at times as if you’re on the side of a mountain. I love it.

We have a lovely window over the sink in the kitchen that looks toward the neighbor’s house, and right outside is a mature dogwood tree. It’s bare now, of course, but I cannot wait for spring to creep forward a little further, so I can watch it bloom.

My mother-in-law gave us a bird feeder for Christmas, and when we opened it up, I knew exactly that we ought to hang it outside the kitchen window from one of the dangling branches of the dogwood. So we did. I went to the store and bought ten pounds of seed. I filled it up and fashioned a hook from which to hang it. And then we waited.

It didn’t take long for a flock of birds to arrive. They were gorgeous. I’m no Audubon, so I cannot deliver a rundown in Latin, but there were blue birds and finches, cardinals and red-bellied woodpeckers, jays and warblers and whippoorwills.

And then there was the Tufted Titmouse.

Prayer II (for Nana)


Gracious Lord, I open my heart to you. My body and spirit are but a fleeting, dim flame compared to the light that is yours. But just as two fires together burn brighter, my soul shines immeasurably larger when you are near to me. Forgive me for all of the times I turn away and leave your work undone.

Today, especially, I ask your presence with my grandmother, Nana. Be with her today. Lord, I cannot pray for you to heal her completely, because life on earth is temporary and eternity with you too sweet. I cannot pray for her to rush away too fast, because I love her too much to let her go just yet.

I know, though, that every moment she lingers here with us, Lord, is a difficult moment for her, so I pray for absolution. Lift from her the obligations that might burden her mind. With every bit of pain or confusion she might feel, bring her peace and comfort. When she feels worried or alone, bring her courage and fulfillment.

Above all, I pray she feels confident in the completion of her life, that she knows her days were lessons for us, that she understands we will carry our steps reflecting the love she lived every day, the love and light that starts with you.

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