While praying recently for a fresh wind of prayer, I ran across the following. I've edited it slightly, for I first scribbled this in a journal over twenty years ago. Twenty years! Before iPads, Kindles, Twitter, Pinterest, smart phones, dumb phones, texting, mobile apps. Back then, people went to dinners disconnected, engaging in conversation with no concerns about a purse ringing just as salads arrived. Yet even then, I was aware of how hard it was to tune in to the gentle presence of God.
'We can hardly hear anything in this world of ceaseless distraction. Our ancestors, even our recent ones, would be simply overwhelmed by the barrage of noises that surround us in this busy world, in this busy western world. We are bombarded by entertainment, images, music, sounds, distractions we carry with us wherever we go.
Perhaps we find our own thoughts too disturbing, so we drown them out with ceaseless chatter. Maybe inactivity reminds us too clearly that we were created to fill our time with God, so we flee from the reminders by cramming our days full of mindless clutter
I know this because I am so this way, busily fluttering amid distractions that keep me blissfully unaware.
If only we could see it! If only we could see the drama in which we're engaged! If only we could peer, eyes unveiled, into the truth for just a minute. I can't believe that such acute awareness would not utterly change our lives...'
Over twenty years later, I am still struggling to quiet down and 'listen.' Funny. I thought I'd be settled into a real routine by now. Not so.
Perhaps because routine has never been easy for me? Possibly. Maybe because distractions are becoming daily more present and ever more convenient for all of us? Surely.
And, if I'm honest, probably because some part of me would rather look at glitter than into scripture. It's a tough thing to consider, an even tougher thing to admit. But it is at least partially true. After all, a bit of online glitz will not remind me that I need to take time to pray for situations on the world stage. Or perhaps that I can even, if I give Him time and space, encounter the loving presence of God.
Encountering the Presence of God. Imagine! I can do this very thing in prayer, even in the silence of my heart. I know how this works; I've done it for years: I can sit down and pray, giving God time and space and attention. I can take another look at Lectio Divina.
Why on earth am I waiting? Maybe if I ask Him, and maybe if I sit long enough to hear His still, small Voice, Our Lord will answer this very question.
I pick up my Bible. I open it.
Again I begin.
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