Sunday, November 28, 2010
It is exhilarating when your heart stumbles upon the words that express its longing. I have found my heart's prayer. This prayer was in the program of a Thanksgiving service held by the various congregations in Roland Park, Maryland. I think it is a beautiful prayer, full of imagery and wisdom. I thought I would share:
Native American Prayer
Oh, Great Spirit
Whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to all the world,
hear me, I am small and weak,
I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold
the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have
made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand the things
you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have
hidden in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother,
but to fight* my greatest enemy - myself.
Make me always ready to come to you
with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset,
my Spirit may come to you without shame.
(translated by Lakota Sioux Chief Yellow Lark in 1887)
*In my own personal version of this prayer I figured I'd much rather "master" myself than "fight" myself.
(Photo by Kelene Blake)
Sunday, November 14, 2010
There’s a phenomenon I notice each fall. Sometimes a leaf will make its imprint on the concrete. Concrete is a most impersonal surface. It is cold, hard, and once it has set, you cannot make a footprint in it. Yet somehow these fragile leaves manage to make an imprint, letting the world know they’ve been there long after they’re gone.
Autumn and the other three seasons are new to me. I grew up with Dry Season, Rainy Season and Petit Careme (a little dry spell during rainy season). In Trinidad and Tobago, if a tree’s leaves turn brown and fall off it’s because that tree is dead, and it’s not going to come back to life in a few months, or ever.
But here the trees go through this annual purging where all the impurities of the tree are stored in the leaves which then fall off, giving the tree a clean start. Yet it is the impurities that give the autumn leaves their bold vibrant colors. And it is the impurities that leave the imprint on the concrete.
We are like autumn leaves. Life isn’t perfect. It is the hardships, the impurities, that make us strong, bold, colorful. Without a struggle we cannot build strength. It is the impurities that give us what we need to make an imprint in the cold hard concrete. The imperfections in life and the imperfections in us give us the material we need to make our imprint in this cold hard world.
(Photo by Kelene Blake)