Friday, October 8, 2010

I pick up my pen

My book is nearly done. I need to add some recipes, edit, edit some more. I need to call it finished. Soon. Big step toward the final version today--I wrote the Foreword. Here it is.

At the end of the road there ain't nothing but fear
Just a big old room with a big old mirror
The man in the mirror his hair is turning gray
And his hand begins to shake in a funny sort of way

He knows everything you bring forth will save your soul
While everything denied will condemn you to the hole
With his hand on his heart he picks up his pen
To go searching for the place where the dream begins
Searching for the place where the dream begins.

Songwriter Tom Russell from a song entitled Where the Dream Begins

With my hand on my heart, I pick up my pen.

If I tell you my faith is unwavering, don’t believe me. This faith of mine wavers all the time. Usually I’ve found faith just one more time than I’ve lost it. And I’ve lost it more times than I can count. But I come back again and again. Sometimes I just don’t know why I come back, why God doesn’t give up on me, why I don’t give up on God. I suppose it is God’s grace, His limitless forgiveness that brings me to His door. Sometimes I pound on His door. Sometimes I don’t even knock. I just sit on the doorstep with my head in my hands until He opens the door for me one more time.

Prayer has evolved in my life. It has gone from that loud pounding on God’s door, asking for favors or miracles, to quietly sitting in His presence. And it has gone from being something that I do in desperation to being infused into everything I do.

Prayer is so much more than saying words to God. We are always in God’s presence when we are celebrating life, weeping, cooking, dancing, talking to a friend. Author Kristen Johnson Ingram was photographing Native American dancers at an Oregon pow-wow when one of the group leaders asked her to stop taking pictures, saying, “This is the prayer the dancer is doing.” We too can find holiness in ordinary things. For me playing music is a form of prayer. Cooking is my way of thanking God for life and the people I love.

This book is a prayer, a prayer of family, friendship, faith, heartache, laughter, and food. These are the things that have given substance to my life. It is a prayer of supplication, asking God to keep safe the people I love, to mend my broken heart, to bring peace to this troubled world. It is a prayer of gratitude. Lord, thank you. Thank you for the people I love. Thank you for the earth that sustains all of us. Thank you for giving me this body—I pray that it will hold together long enough, until my work is done. Thank you for giving me my mind—I pray that it will be open to learn what I need to know. Thank you for my heart—though it has been broken, with your grace it heals. Thank you for my soul, my soul that belongs to God. Thank you for everything, even the things for which I sometimes curse you. Thank you.

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