The Lord God formed man out of the clay of the ground
and blew into his nostrils the breath of life,
and so man became a living being. Genesis 2:7
After spending some very enjoyable time outdoors in God’s company, I had to laugh over my attempts at prayer. There are times when the tone and the topic of my prayers amaze me. I can only imagine what God must be thinking! More than once, I’ve stepped back from a monologue directed at the Lord God to ask myself what I’m thinking. Each time, after getting over the unmitigated gall with which I dared to approach The Almighty, I take a deep breath and begin again. It’s during these second beginnings that I apologize for my nerve in ordering God around, I give thanks for God’s unconditional love and I invite God into a real conversation with me. Though I never actually “hear” a single word from above, God communicates just the same in the peaceful assurance which fills me up and urges me on. The latter is the experience I enjoyed today.
It occurs to me that we humans are quite fortunate to be created in God’s image and likeness. God’s love is so great that it spilled out and took form in Creation. God tells us that you and I are God’s greatest handiwork. Part of that greatness comes in the traces of God’s love which remain entrenched in us. I can’t help thinking of this infusion of love as God’s DNA within us. As a result, we all know on some level that we are loved and therefore listened to. No wonder we’re not only compelled to pray, but also to assume that we’re heard.
Jesus saw a vast crowd. He pitied them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them at great length.
From Matthew 6:34-44
I worked as a reading teacher for many years. Though the subject area remained constant, my students’ grade levels varied as a result of my assignment, enrollment numbers and sometimes the whims of the powers that be. For a few years, I worked with only fifth through eighth graders. While I tended to enjoy all of my students, one group of eighth graders remains a favorite.
For some reason these particular students needed an adult ear. Every day when they reported to my classroom, they attempted to share their woes for the entire period. The truth is that they actually were not engaging in work avoidance. One of their classmates had unexpectedly lost his dad. This turned my students’ world upside down. They simply could not cope.
So it was that we came to an agreement. We spent ten minutes of each period sharing and thirty-five minutes of each period engaged in reading. Apparently, they appreciated this gesture because they had both calmed down and learned something by the end of the year.
Just as you taught us, Jesus, sometimes we have to adjust the rules to serve a soul. Please give us the wisdom and the love to know how and when to do just that.