OK, this is just a dumb little post, but it was so funny… I just had to put it in here.
The other day I posted “Refrigerator Magnets and Acid Rain”, discussing that little nanosecond of “pure intention” I have when God prompts prayer, versus me wrapping all my own mental debris around it, by the time I get to “Amen”.
Well, last night God sorta tacked His own “epilogue” on to it, and it just turned out hysterically funny. I needed to share.
I… am sick.
Right now, along with others in this house and probably millions dealing with this bizarre weather… I have a cold.
It’s only that… a cold. Not pneumonia, influenza, bronchitis, copd, or a number of actually SERIOUS conditions worthy of any note or sympathy. I just have… a cold. I’m sniffling, blowing my nose a lot, sneezing from time to time, and coughing. I have NO PAIN whatsoever… the cough hasn’t made the ribs hurt, the kleenex hasn’t yet burned my nose, and there’s no sore throat. Sympathy, while always welcome, is not the least bit called for.
Nonetheless… I don’t LIKE being sick. I don’t have TIME to be sick. I don’t feel my normal jovial perky SELF when I’m sick. So IDON’WANNABE sick. My general, all-purpose response to such situations is… I whine. Nothing earth shattering. Just generally a fairly quiet mantra that goes something like… “I’m sick. I hate being sick. I’m sick and tired of being sick. So, Lord… if it’s all the same with you… I’m through with this now. Let’s move on to ‘Little Monk isn’t sick anymore’ days. OK? Thanks. Oh… Amen.”
It’s just irritating. Stuff doesn’t taste right. My eyes are a bit blurrier than normal. My chest feels heavy. And… (OK, you can go ahead and laugh if you want)… my voice… my voice has a distinct amphibian twang… I sound like a frog croaking, “I hab a code id by doze.”
So, last night I’m sitting on the couch in no physical discomfort at all, but mentally bemoaning my fate, and quite suddenly, the Holy Spirit pops up with, “Hey! This would be a GREAT TIME to praise and thank God!”
Stunned… I reply. “But I’m SICK! I dun WANNA pray and praise. I’m not happy!”
But then, suddenly, I get this brilliant idea… “Wait, You’re RIGHT. This is the PERFECT time! I don’t feel good, perky, holy or any of that. Yeah. Great!”
So, quickly I dash to the Throne, and start praising God… embracing how icky I feel. I didn’t even look anything up, but just started winging it (in my own unique idiom) through some version of Daniel’s Canticle, just making up a litany of my own interspersed with “praise the Lord”, “thank the Lord,” or “praise and exalt Him above all forever.”
And my mind was just casting about for new things to “name” to call them to “praise”.
(OK, now, did I mention I’m sick? So… this will get kinda silly. And it’s prayer. So… I don’t want to offend anyone with my irreverence, but this is just what happened, OK? So, try not to judge. By the way, I’m sick… so I’m grabbing on to that in case I need an “excuse”.)
Anyway, I found myself like, running out of things to name… sun and moon, stars and sky, trees and flowers, grass and shrubs, cold and heat, so on.. so on… and it kind of gets like one of those back seat kids word games you play on a long road trip? I’m naming things to praise Him, but running out of things, so I’m losing my rhythm.
So I’m sitting here praising, running dry on fodder. And I repeated myself… and He says, “You said that one already…” and like, without thinking, I shot back, “well I’m running out, how about a little help here”... and HE starts naming animals, and stuff.
The absurdity of the situation strikes me, and I start laughing.
“Wait, Lord, YOU can’t help! This is MY praise to YOU!”
“But you’re running dry… Here, see if this helps.” And He just ‘dumped’ a metric ton of JOY on top of my head. It was like getting rained on by Skittles and M&M’s at a Willy Wonka factory. I just started laughing and couldn’t stop. (It’s really hard to ‘pray’ when tears of laughter are welling up.)
I actually sat here (you won’t believe this), and sorta stomped my foot in pique as I said, “Lord! Cut it out! You’re wrecking this whole thing! I’m trying to do something SERIOUS here! And You’re making me laugh! I can’t concentrate!”
Yes, Gentle Reader, I actually said that to the Lord High God. It must have been fever!
Far from being offended, HE laughed uproariously, and said, “STOP! For goodness sake, quit taking yourself so seriously. You’re praising and thanking Me. I GOT that! I receive that. I embrace that, and it makes Me happy. I’m just embracing you back, and that… is… Joy! Get over it!”
At which point, I fully realized the absurdity of my heart… and together the two of us laughed ’til my coughing stopped me. In those quiet moments I found myself thinking about that “nanosecond” post I mentioned. I shook my head and said to Him, “No one would believe this, You know.”
“That prayer can be like this. That You can reflect back simple determination to praise with a pure intention… without having to ‘feel good’ first… as a cascade of pure Joy and clean laughter.”
“They might, Little Monk. From YOU, they just might. Try it. Go ahead and write it up and see what happens. In the meantime, I was enjoying that Name Game thing we were playing. Let’s go back to that for a while.”
“You got it, Lord”… and with His help, I kept naming pairs of creation… prompting them to “praise and exalt Him above all, forever.”
It was a glorious evening, and for quite a while there, I didn’t even mind the fact that…
Joy and grace to you, Gentle Reader! Praise and exalt Him above all Forever!
The Little Monk