Wednesday, March 25th, 2020
Spiritual Focus of the Day
by Keli Shipley Cooper
When I was young, my dad and I would pray together every night before I went to sleep. I prayed out loud for all my friends and family, my two dogs, my teachers, and concluded with
“thank you Jesus for loving me. And I pray for every person, place, and thing in the whole entire universe. In your name we pray- Amen.”
Realistically, my dad and I prayed every night before I turned on the TV once my parents were asleep. This became our nightly rhythm. As a child, I felt overwhelmed to pray for everything. I avoided sleep and anxious thoughts with TV. I didn’t want to miss any thing, hence the “whole entire universe” part of my prayer.
I feel overwhelmed now.
At night, anxious thoughts jump over me like the sheep I'm supposed to be counting. Well, sometimes they run into me. I often turn to one of my favorite farmer-theologians,
and his poem, "The Peace of Wild Things." For those who prefer to listen, click
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the presence of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Do you have a nightly rhythm?
What do you do when you feel "despair for the world?"
What would it look like "to go and lie down where the wood drake rests" while practicing physical distancing?
Can we "rest in the grace of the world?" If so, how?
We've been adjusting and adapting at home and at work. My tendency towards perfection has been creeping in… I want to do everything without error, especially typos (...impossible).
In this time, we are enough. May we continue to do the best we can, remembering
"every person, place, and thing in the whole entire universe,"
which includes ourselves.
I invite you to pray this prayer written by
an ordained Lutheran pastor:
"God who made us all,
Our healers are exhausted, God.
Give rest to those who care for the sick.
Our children are bored, God.
Grant extra creativity to their caregivers.
Our friends are lonely, God.
Help us reach out.
Our pastors are doing the best they can, God.
Bring unexpected play and joy and dance parties to all in need.
Our grocery store workers are absorbing everyone's anxiety, God.
Protect them from us.
Our elderly are even more isolated God.
We haven't done this before and we are scared, God.
I don’t' even know what else to pray for."