“We become what we yearn after; hence the necessity for prayer.”
— Mahatma Gandhi
“What we set our hearts on, what we most deeply desire, will influence the type of person we will become... Quieting ourselves in prayer, seeking God’s guidance and wisdom, we descend into that deep place within ourselves, that part of us that makes choices, to discover what it is that we truly yearn after. It may not be at all what we assume it is.” — Br. David Vryhof, SSJE
My Lord, there are layers to my desires. My first is that I want peace – but maybe it’s actually quiet and solitude. And why? I tell myself it’s to be with you, but it’s not always true. Still it is today, I think. Do I want quiet and alone time to hear you? Or to be in a bubble where there are no demands and no surprises… Where I can live in the illusion of control? There is no peace in trying to maintain control. And if I am to be with you, I must also give over my life to others. But here I am Lord. At least it’s a start, an offering?
“Be stouthearted and wait for the Lord.” — Ps 27:4
Oh Lord, you are hilarious, but you will go wherever it takes to get my attention!
The dishwasher has been acting up for weeks, and this morning my attempts to fiddle with it - whether they ever really helped or not (doubtful) - finally failed! Five times the “E-24”.
I have a rough idea what the problem is. R. says he can fix it but hasn’t had time yet. So instead of waiting to just remind him, and being patient, I continue to fiddle. And of course as soon as he touches it, it works one more time! So more waiting… I have such a hard time not being able to deal with a problem myself – meeting up with an obstacle that I can’t get around. I will keep fretting and tweaking instead of relaxing and waiting for the one who knows how to fix it properly. How many real problems am I doing this with?
OK, maybe this is reading much deeper than you intended Lord, but E-24 is the error code for not draining. And if I don’t let go, don’t let things drain away, I can’t function, can’t be free to live joyfully, to serve graciously.
A week after this little revelation, Deacon Dennis gives a homily about “Blessed are the clean of heart” – about the grace of confession. And it brought E-24 back to mind. When R. opened up the dishwasher drain, the filter was utterly clogged with accumulated scale. Five years of this & that sticking together, making an ever-thicker layer that eventually prevented water from flowing through. And a sizable shard of broken glass to boot.
So what’s the deposit? A little bit of anger, an unfair judgment or preconception, some self-pity, a little selfishness, an easy decision instead of the better one? Nothing horrendous in and of itself, but one thing leading to another forming a barrier to grace.
And what about the shard of glass? I don’t remember a specific incident – but something was broken. Something left a painful reminder that blocked the drain. Do I have a remnant of a break or wound, maybe something that I thought was long over but that I’m holding onto? Something that needs to come into the light and be resolved, accepted, forgiven?
Please, Lord, grant me the desire and grace to understand, let go, and accept your healing. May a clean heart allow your grace to flow freely through me!
Jesus I trust in you.
PS, I’m grateful for a working dishwasher and one who fixed it!
Lynn Wells is a St. Laurence parishioner and spiritual director.