Sometimes the events of life are so full of sorrow or horror or worry that there is nothing to do but turn one’s mind to prayer. When I was a young girl I stayed with my Gram when my sister went into the hospital for brain surgery. She did everything she could to comfort me, but Gram never said it would be ok, because no one knew.
Gram made some phone calls and told me that all her friends were praying for Barb. I pictured people in straight chairs, holding hands around a circle, with grey heads bent. Through the hours I held tight to that image. In contrast to the mightiness of their efforts my own prayers felt flimsy, even ridiculous. Barb came home, and I do believe that Gram’s prayer circle helped make that happen.
The tragic, sudden death of a friend in our midst has stunned us all. Even while I try to comprehend, other losses and worries tug at my mind. In my car at red lights, I find myself putting my palms together before my breast. The surrender of the gesture eases my heart, but I don’t find words for prayer.
Hiking, I leave the trail and follow a wash to a confluence of dry streambeds, where a cluster of saguaro cacti stand as sentinels and an age-blackened tree snag points to heaven. Here it is absolutely quiet and nothing moves. I sit and attend to the stillness and my own being is steeped in the hush. This takes a long time.
The sky appears eternal as does the landscape. Even the trees have stood in this place for hundreds of years. I feel I could sit for that long in this peacefulness.
Here in this rocky, stand-strewn channel in the desert it is apparent that more is at stake than the busy lives and machinations of human endeavor. The forces of nature turn on an all-encompassing wheel. Perhaps we don’t need to carry the burden of understanding everything. Sit for a time in the stillness of nature and find that prayer has no need for words.