Tag: faith

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.

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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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Evening Prayer


Seek him who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning, and darkens the day into night; who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out upon the surface of the earth: The Lord is his name.
–Amos 5:8

Over the past several years I’ve kind of fallen in love with the tradition of Evening Prayer. It’s somewhat rare–when I was in Chicago two weeks ago, for instance, none of the downtown Episcopal churches nearby offered it–but Trinity Episcopal here in Statesville, where I am a member, has taken it up as a Lenten offering and schedules prayer service throughout the weeks leading up to Easter. The services are all led by laypeople, and I usually sign up to lead once a week or so.

It’s quickly become one of the greatest sanctuaries I’ve ever had in my spiritual life.

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