Sunday, December 4, 2016

Pray as You Can (#SmallWonder Link-up)

Julian of Norwich, a 14th century anchoress best known for her deep belief in the love of God, is often depicted with her only companion, a cat.  Can you imagine how happy this makes me? 

"Pray as you can, not as you can't." - Dom John Chapman

In the early morning darkness, I rise from bed and descend the stairs.  The waiting cat picks up my trail and follows me into the kitchen.  Awake for some time already, he's eager to get outside. Every morning he saunters out into the frosty cold to prowl the wilted flowerbeds, the decaying garden and I catch glimpses of his progress from the window as he seeks out scent paths left the night before.  

In the kitchen, I pour coffee and cream into a clean-enough mug and the cat leaps onto a stool, hoping I’ll open the un-screened kitchen window that frequently serves as his own private door.  When I fail to comply with his implicit demands, he follows me to the wood stove room, hurrying urgently to the front door while I kneel to stoke the fire.  He expects me to open the door to gather more wood from the porch and is visibly disappointed when I settle on the couch.  His green eyes flash in my direction, impatient, then he settles on the carpet to wait for the next opportunity. 

I woke early, intending to sit in the darkness, to absorb the silence, to gently stoke the flame of desire that draws me to God.  This is why I woke, but there on the love seat I sit with my phone in hand.  I open Facebook, I scroll. 

My mind spins and whirls with thoughts, emotions.  My mind is like the cat, wide awake and eager, wanting to get out, to explore, to hunt and find satisfaction. 

This is not what I wanted.  But it's what I’m doing.

I lift my eyes from the phone and look over at the cat.  He’s waiting, as cats do, half-asleep.  

I rise again, this time from the love seat, and gather the cat in my arms.  I sit with him cradled across my lap like a baby.  He accepts my attention complacently, then with a steadily growing purr.  I stroke his back, his head; I scratch along his jawbone.  

With the cat in my arms, I feel love rise and gratitude; prayer begins.  

I realize then, gazing at his relaxed frame, that he is showing me how I'm meant to be with God - at rest, comforted, loved.  In that moment, my cat is an icon, leading me to the holy, to my own desire.  Content in my embrace, he stretches his paws out long and they come to rest on my chest where my heart resides.   

What images or actions in your daily life lead you to prayer?

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Welcome to the #SmallWonder link-up.  

What if we chose to deliberately look for small moments of wonder, the small sparks of presence, of delight or sorrow, of true humanity in which we meet God?  

That's my proposal - that we gather here each week to share one moment of Wonder from each of our days.  You're invited to link-up a brief post about a small moment of wonder.  Don't worry if your post is too long, too short, or not just right - you're welcome to come as you are.  

While you're here, please do take a look around and encourage at least one other blogger with a comment.  Thanks for being part of our community!  




11 comments:

  1. This is beautiful.
    And I've never seen this image of Julian, but it certainly portrays the sense of her famous quote. How could all things NOT be well when sitting in repose with a purring kitty?

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    1. Exactly! I do think creatures (animals) seem to have an inherent connection with the sense that ultimately all will be well . . . or maybe that's something we read into their repose . . .

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  2. Kelly, this is just beautiful. The tears rolled as I remembered how our cat used to sit in my lap while I read in the early mornings. Her purring and the warmth of her furry body brought a peace and comfort. May we make time to sit still and receive the comfort He longs to bring us each day. Blessings!

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    1. Oh, Joanne - I'm so glad you have happy memories of a loved pet :)

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  4. This is beautiful, Kelly. I get distracted, too, sometimes when I plan to spend time in prayer. I love how your cat snuggling in your lap help lead you to be at rest, comforted and loved by God. I think one thing that helps me pray is when I'm outside seeing the vastness of creation. I just want to praise Him. Inside, I like to light a candle to set a relaxing mood. Blessings to you!

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    1. Yes, I agree Gayle - nature does seem to connect us to that greater something and, also, the quiet light of a candle (or Christmas tree).

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  5. Kelly - oh, this sounded so much like me. I am making some changes in this area, but what a distraction....and to picture what God really wants from us was sweet.

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  6. Kelly your words were so beautiful... All of nature and animals tend to move me-- I have a deep love for cats as well! It's so easy to get distracted by the feeds and the frenzy that this life wants to lay at our door step but I will keep your lovely post tucked away to remember the best time spent is being still with God. Thank you as always for hosting us.

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