Saturday, August 25, 2012
centering on the trail
When my husband and I leave for a hike,we have to get up early to beat the heat and face at least an hour drive to the trails.This leaves no time for morning prayer or my usual twenty minutes of Centering Prayer.I miss that quiet time.
Yesterday, as we began our hike,I sought to at least do the centering as I walked;bringing my mind back to my sacred word each time it strayed.This seemed to slow my step.Each footfall felt like prayer .
The trail is hard packed and dry with grey /beige sand and neutral looking rocks and one's eyes must be glued to it to keep from tripping over these and the myriad roots that criss-cross.And yet,the Creator of the universe has sprinkled some marvelous things right near the path..Amid all the bland colors will flash a light blue and it is:wonder of wonders, a mushroom.Further along a green mushroom will appear to surprise and then a sweet purple flower like a scoop and then some red or brown mushrooms.Amazing colors.And on a tall tree,someone has carved a smiling face with lots of hair.I laughed out loud on this trail of hills and trees.
I thought of something after we got home.It happened a long time ago and it relates to Centering Prayer.When my sister was eleven and I was eight, a party was going on in our house.Ten couples gathered for their monthly fun and the dishes and glasses,(especially those) were piling up in the small kitchen.My sister was at the sink washing away and I, having excess energy at 2 A.M., offered to help.In her most dismissive tone,I was told to get lost.And even at that young age,I knew why.Should a stray,intoxicated adult come into the kitchen, there would be praise for her efforts and she,desperate for a dollop of that ,wanted it all.
And what would my motive have been to offer?Wanting to help my beloved sister?I think not: mine was hers,affirmation.But ,maybe I have misjudged her.How do I know what was really in her mind or my own or any one's. This is why we have been admonished not to judge because how do we know what any one's motive might be?It's a relief to me not to have to make that call on such a small amount of information.
What I have discovered about Centering Prayer is that it moves one beyond the realm of motive.One acts out of love and that is all.I will not do this thing because another will love me or God will love me but because this is what becomes the most natural thing to do.It is as if the Lord now uses my lips to smile,hands to serve,without my assent.But that is not quite correct for when I sit with Christ at the beginning of the day,I am consenting that He fill the empty spot I leave open for Him in the center.