The Doorway into Thanks

Praying 
by Mary Oliver
 
It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
 
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
 
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
 

For the longest time I knew nothing about prayer, or thought that I didn’t. Prayer was something pious people did, those kids who went to Eucharistic adoration and smugly genuflected deeper than everyone else. Me, I just wrote to God sometimes at night, and I listened.

There were times when life was harder, and darker, and I wasn’t slapped in the face by grace as often as I had been before. Inspired moments were fewer. My prayers were angry and confused, a lot of “Make me whole” and “why me?” and “where are you?”

These are not the prayers that win contests. They may not even be prayers that get us through the night, or day. It felt futile to offer the darkness to God, over and over, but it was all I could do. Or at least I thought it was.

I have always left open that doorway into thanks. I can’t take any credit for this. I was given a gift of faith as surely as the gifts of prudence and cleanliness were withheld from me. Even when life was very dark I was waiting for whatever was on the other side of the door. I’ve bullied myself into maintaining a heart that is ready for gratitude whenever it springs up, that even in darkness seeks the light on the other side of the door.

this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
 
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

(Last night I turned to Mary Oliver for something to think about. She never disappoints.)

This entry was posted in faith, poetry, prayer. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Doorway into Thanks

  1. Lau says:

    “those kids who went to Eucharistic adoration and smugly genuflected deeper than everyone else.” I just totally LOLd at that. I think I know the same kids.

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