Winter Day in Nebraska I glance out, see the geese stitch the sky over Interstate 80 their ragged, urgent arrows aiming somewhere east southeast no big deal but they keep coming prophecies sliding like hieroglyphs against a cave wall of grey clouds as “I Got the Boy” blares on the pickup radio reflecting on the passage of time without resentment: “She got the future, I got the past” and once they’re behind us a few miles later a herd of Angus cattle trot in unison kicking up dust. Ten miles before the exit to Denver my husband notices how the wind tugging at us all day has died down. A cemetery appears on cue yonder on the side of a hill. I can barely detect the granite stones in the endless brown grass. It’s the conifers that catch the eye. I could count them they’re so clear and earnest marching in place ever greening.
Revelation 3:8 has been my go-to verse for a couple of years now. It leapt off the page of my Bible one day and has held a place in my awareness. It urges me to keep looking, to see how big God is and all the ways the Great Love manifests in the world around me. It is God’s invitation to keep seeking new ways to love, new stories to listen to, new people to meet, new opportunities to explore.
A couple of days ago this prayer formed inside me, so I will share it with you. Be blessed with peace and every good, dear reader.
Most Holy One, open me. Open my heart to receive all that comes to me today. Open my eyes to see the beauty and the need. Open my ears to listen. Open my mind to consider ideas other than my own. Open my lips to encourage and to bless. Open my hands to give generously. Open my arms to embrace. Open my home to welcome the stranger. Open my heart and my life to love. Amen.
Today I am featuring a guest writer, Carol DeSchepper. She has a talent for finding great spiritual writings and adding her own thoughtful responses. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do.
I must admit I rarely give Groundhog Day a second thought. Whether it’s 4 weeks or 6 weeks or 8 weeks from now when ‘winter ends’, it remains cold and wintery in my part of the world. That said, I rejoice at more hours of daylight. It’s a very hopeful sign. One of my colleagues shared this prayer with a group of parish nurse colleagues. I will save it and look at it again and again. It changes the way I look at Groundhog Day. It offers so much symbolism for our faith journey and our inner life. Indeed ‘you [God] hear our chirps and growls and snores and in your love answer’. I already know the answer --- that too is love. “Prayer: Good God Almighty, it’s cold! It’s a miracle that we survive at all. Don’t let our hearts be frozen. Make us conscious in the cold of those who shiver for want of kindness, justice and compassion. Groundhog of All Being, Wake us from our hibernation at least long enough to recognize the world around. Let us not shirk from our shadows, but rather face the unresolved. Let us confront those things that need changing and accept the things that simply are. Don’t let us rush back to sleep prematurely. O you who descended into the earth, and rose again with the dawn, Open our eyes to light, even the cold crisp light of winter. Let it awaken in us irrational hope, the unreasonable possibility of spring in the depth of winter, the possibility of kindness in a world desperate for warmth. God of the meantime, Let us huddle together while we wait, let us nestle and dream, reach out to each other and comfort each other in the warmth of our prayers. (Prayer cycles and prayers for specific people) From deep inside our burrows we call out for you. Hear our chirps and growls and snores, and in your love answer. Amen.” (Centre for Christian Studies, Winnipeg, Canada) Carol DeSchepper is a spiritual director/ companion, retired nurse, parish nurse, and a seeker who lives in Lake Park, Iowa.