• words and The Word

    Dee was right. There are no words.

    Last week I was meeting with her and another friend and out of my frustration, I asked for prayer. “For what?” Dee asked. “I don’t know.” I said. “I just know I’m not hearing from God right now and I’m not very happy about it.” Dee prayed and I could tell she was having difficulty understanding what she was trying to pray for. In the end she explained that she had a cat who was very ill. They gave their cat infusions to try and help it to feel better. The cat did not respond well; it was in pain and Dee was making the pain worse. “There was no way I could explain to Kato why I was doing what I was doing. There were no words I could say that he would understand. There are no words for what you are experiencing right now.”

    I took this suggestion not only with a grain of salt but with a tablespoon of resentment. I have been very happy with my relationship with God. What is he doing messing it up? As the days have passed, I have only been able to continue to express my frustration to the Lord and confess my resentment, trying to do morning prayer, trying to pray, trying, trying trying.

    This morning as I sat with my journal open to a fresh page I realized this was what my Bible was like right now–a book with no words. Yet I am saturated by words every day; words beat me down by their frequency and weight, words I use, to style, to convince and cajole, to “communicate.” There’s also all the internal words, the things I tell myself for better or worse, the conversations I rehearse, the strategies for saving the world I concoct and dismiss. Maybe God is not employing words with me because they have become too common, not rare and exotic enough to explain to me the hurt I am going through right now.

    So today I am in a place of acceptance: there are no words. Amen. Lord, have mercy.

    Along with the words go the conventional forms of meeting with God. Morning prayer’s not doing anything but making me frustrated, prayer times are filled with curbing inner monologues. What’s a Christian to do? Worship the Lord with what is left when you bypass the mind: pray in body & spirit. Almost daily in the last week I have awakened with a song of joy on my lips and heart, despite the resentment. This morning it was a hymn we sang at church on Sunday, which I don’t know very well, which has subsequently come out as “My soul blah blah, the greatness of the Lord! Blah blah, blah blah, blah, blah blah blah blah blah.” The fact that I can’t remember the words hasn’t stopped my soul from singing it! I guess it’s time to pull out the collaging supplies, colored pens and art boards and give myself the space to meet the Lord in the way he’s suggesting: without words.

    Another song I’m singing right now, minus a few words.

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