Since the first of the year, I've been feeling a bit lost in my writing.
Directionless and a bit purposeless.
So I took some time away from this stage to write just for me and my Audience of One - the author of my creativity and the purpose for it.
I wrote quiet whispers of love and affection between me and my Papa.
I wrote tyrannical screams of how I believe things ought to be when they're not.
I wrote meandering streams of consciousness discernible only to a God who knows me in and out, through and through, completely and wholly.
And In writing for myself and my Audience of One, I discovered and remembered a bit of the why.
I remembered that I write because it is in me to write. I write because it is a part of my creative being. I write because it renews me and refocuses me. I write because there is a word on my heart. I write because of a God who has created me to write.
I'm amazed at how easy it is to forget this - to forget that I do not write to gain influence or popularity. To forget that I write so I might become less and he might become more.
This year I've started praying through The Book of Common Prayer.
Although I do not come from a faith tradition which routinely uses these weathered prayers, lately I've found myself longing to connect with our ancestors in the faith - to feel their presence surrounding me as my momma heart begins to roar and life changes from an "I" to a "we".
I find my heart yearning to walk paths well trodden and cobbled roads worn smooth from pilgrimages of old. I want to know and hear their words and learn from them. I want to feel their presence in the great cloud of witnesses ever cheering us forward. I want to know them and in knowing them, know the God they knew, the savior they longed for.
These days I need to remember I am not the first to walk this road and I will not be the last.
I am not the first to ask the Lord to bend his ear low and hear my whispered prayers. I am not the first to cry out when the waiting and the lamenting seem unbearable. I am not the first to teach my will to bend to that of the Holy Spirit. I am not the first to stumble and bumble as I learn what submitting one to another truly means. I am not the first to experience magnificent joy in the presence of a God who knows me and created me fearfully and wonderfully.
So I rise to morning prayers and lay down to evening prayers alongside the saints standing witness to centuries of truth and love and abundance. I commune with memories of the heroes of faith who stood in the gap between the priests and the laity. I mill about in the legacies of their life. And I speak anew words never forgotten - words of faith and love and devotion for a holy God and a risen Lord.
I often tell my clients I believe words have power over our lives.
The words we hear from our parents, our teachers, our peers - they have power. The words we speak to ourselves - they have power.
We internalize the encouragements, the praises, the denunciations, the curses - making them a part of our identity, part of the fabric of our being.
We know because we've experienced - powerful words spoken in love can teach us to soar.
But powerful words spoken in malice require powerful words spoken in love to break, remake and renew.
Words are charged things, and I'm learning to be more careful with them. To speak only words which are life giving. To write words which are full of truth and honest confession. To hold my tongue when my words might damage. To leave unpublished words with a caustic sting.
Lessons I have no doubt I will learn again and again until kingdom come.
So I rise to morning prayers with whispered breath:
"O LORD our heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this day: Defend us in the same with thy mighty power; and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all our doings may be ordered by thy governance, to do always that is righteous in thy sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
And lay down to evening prayers with hardened yet softening heart:
"O GOD, from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works do proceed: Give unto thy servants that peace which the world cannot give; that both our hearts may be set to obey thy commandments, and also that by thee we being defended from the fear of our enemies may pass our time in rest and quietness; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen."