Praying Through Loss and Longing

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It is my hope that if you read this, you will find a way into a new rest, into new peace – in whatever you are going through.

About two years ago, I was introduced “Ardas Bhayee” a prayer in sanskrit comprised of these words:

Ardas Bahee, Amar Das Guru, Amar Das Guru, Ardas Bahee.

Ram Das Guru, Ram Das Guru, Ram Das Guru, Sachee Sahee

If you click on the link above and listen to it, you’ll see it is really beautiful.

When I was taught this prayer, I was taught it is the perfect prayer. The meaning behind the words are the collection of mind, body and soul – when you pray these words, your voice threads together the needs of each of aspect of your life and you lift up your exact everything to God.

I think that a lot of times, what holds us up in prayer is the “figuring out” of what to pray for. We end up blocking our own faithfulness with over analyzing if God gives us “this” than that means “that” is likely and we are not sure how we feel about “that”. Or – because we know that what is best will take place – we don’t boldly approach the throne with what is we really long for. And then we may even question what it is we long for and feel like maybe we don’t deserve it, maybe we messed up too much to still qualify for it, or you long for a past chance.

These thoughts compound, the tea kettle sounds, the day starts and the prayer never happened. Because you could never figure out what to pray for.

So, there is a lot of freedom in this mantra and just the opportunity to hear the sounds of the beautiful sanskrit and fumble through singing along until all the sudden your heart has figured it out: you hum some words while sounding the ones you are confident in.

I cherish the freedom in knowing that this silence of mind and this sound of the heart and voice are doing all the work I didn’t have to do in the first place. The work I felt I had to do in master planning my life in order to know what to order from the divine is relieved. Instead, I can just lift it up through these words while I clean my house, brush my teeth, sit still.

This whole thought originally came about two days ago when I was in a moment that involved the remembrance of two very important people in my life: Kristi, who passed maybe 6 years ago now and Spindley, who passed about 3 years ago. Kristi taught me trustworthiness and loyalty. Spindley taught me good humor and friendly motivation.

To say that losing these two people was hard would be an understatement. Even now, my heart twists at the fact that they died. And I think that a lot of times, when we lose people in our physical life that had significance to us emotionally or spiritually, we try to will them back.

We look for signs of them. We want them by our side in moments. We feel their presence and breathe it in and are so thankful for the visit. And we want them to come back again for a visit through a cardinal or a butterfly or ladybug.

And this is awesome.

Equally – what is awesome – is when we take the opportunity to shift this perspective just a little bit. What happens when we feel the inclination to will their spirit and character to our moment and resolve, instead, to dedicate the moment to them.

In their honor, to their spirit – a nod to their legacy – we perform the work, we move forward. Not because they showed up and gave us the chills and gave us what we needed. But because they were here on this planet and taught us, loved us, at one point in time and now we can honor them with strength, courage and action.

In doing this, I believe, we balance our consumption of the supernatural with a generosity of spirit and a commitment to being the person they loved so much, a commitment to the attributes we have that made their eyes twinkle and their smile go wide.

I think that, if you try this in the new year, while we are all so set on a new world – a new culture – a new sense of community, that we can free ourselves from the dependency we have created on our capacities to understand God’s subtleties. As surely, we know not all the ways we are loved. Rather than ask, sit and wait for a sign. What if we, instead, identify the spirit and the underlying prayer in our hearts not (only) as something to know and speak and share but something to feel and fumble through and breathe into? It is my thinking that this will make us bolder and light up our spirit from the inside. We will become stronger people of light.

In Romans 8 there is a verse I love love love love love – (vs. 26) where scripture teaches to breathe. Just groan. Just sigh. Don’t think. Just heave it out. In that connection of your physical body and your breath, the spirit intercedes – the spirit prays – on your behalf.

We don’t need to figure it out, friends. We just don’t. If we get knowledge and gain understanding from that knowledge, what a blessing! But it is not our job to seek “knowing” out in a way that distracts us from the true fluidity of the spiritual nature of our souls. That inner pool where God wants you to just sit.

Rest.

–Let your waters be still.

Know the Lord is with you.

There is a lot of peace in this.

XO, erin

 

The Peace that Meets Longing – My Experience of Divorce’s Heart Ache

This is my ten year old daughter, Ellen, and her biological grandmothers. My mom is on the right in the white. Both the women and the girl in this picture hold such a profound part of my heart that words just simpy don’t work here.

It’s real love.

The realist of the real.

It has been ten years that I have spent loving this child but probably closer to twenty five years that I have spent dreaming about her.

I remember laying in bed as a young girl, imagining being a mother and picturing a room for two daughters. I imagined award ribbons and pictures and momentos tacked to a cork board.

I had such good ideas for how my life would work.

Relationships.

*sigh*

Relationships (of all kinds) are simply put the best and worst part of human living. It’s incredible to love even with the inevitable grief. For in the suffering that comes with human relating we get to experience compassion. And it’s this compassion that is the core of what makes “relationship” so much to be prized: to have love is to have hurt is to have compassion.

In John 14:27, Jesus says “my peace I give to you, my peace I leave with you”. He says this to secure the comfort of our hearts. Even when he is gone – beloved teacher, shepherding friend – his peace is present.

Tonight my house filled up with people and love and laughter to celebrate Ellen’s birthday. For the first time in ten years, the dinner was on – house set – candles lit – prior to first guests arriving. Throwing a dinner for twenty gets easier but the following does not..

Hours later the house emptied. Until even my lovely ten year old and her darling sidekick Lucy were buckled into their dad’s car which pulled out of the driveway to go back to the land of Netflix and cocoa puffs, cable and ping pong to complete “dad week”.

I walked back into my colorful home that smelled like the warmth of red sauce with a hint of cinnamon and overall calm. I found the silence and the emptiness both soothing and shattering and allowed the wave of it all to wash over me.

As I sat crying – heavy tears – I thought about all the mothers longing for their babies as I longed deeply for mine. The ones born, the ones to be born, the ones that may never be born, the ones born and passed.

I thought of the marriages and relationships that suffer from demons and closets and skeletons. That suffer from selfishness and fear. That are choked by anxiety and drowned with depression.

I thought of how I wished I knew the root of sin. How I wished I could close in on the little tick of sin that breaks good things and lock it away. This way people don’t have to hurt. This way longing and sadness and loneliness don’t happen.

This way birthday parties last forever.

Then I thought – “Erin, my peace I give to you – my peace I leave with you.” And instantly I allowed my heart to enter the loving compassion of Christ and I cried not needing answers.

Surely we want to understand so much! Surely we want plans and tactics. We think of what we need that may relieve us. We think of how to get to the root and change the course. But really –  perhaps in these moments when our hearts gasp, we are to resist allowing our minds to stir and the urge to try and figure something out.

Maybe, instead, we are to accept an invitation to enter into God’s peace.

It was left for us. We should rest in it.

In Phillipians Paul writes “May the peace of God which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.” (Phil 4:7)

And it’s so true, guys, it’s so true – peace is here for us. We are invited into peace when our hearts are quaking. This peace guards us.

It allows us to cry and drip snot on our floor and not have answers. It is when we enter this without the need to know that we get to experience divine compassion.

And it’s this —

Hmmmmm….

It’s this experience of compassion that I guess really allows us to be free from the world. It’s like when we fell as kids, skinned our knee and freaked out at the blood to then have somebody’s loving warmth and care calm us down. All was made right. We forgot about the trauma.

What we want from people and relationships is valid… our sadness is valid. Our longing is valid.

So feel it —

— in doing so, I have found equal to this is the validity of calm and freedom.

Which we can also so feel. 

Valid is the power of God to be compassionately present and working always and forever in our lives.

Amen. Namaste.

ps: hug your babies if you got em ;) for all the mamas who can’t.