Nighttime is the sweetest part of the day for me. I fall into a delicious bed after a supercharged day and let the battery totally drain. Time for prayer! That is the reason for the sweetness. Not that I haven't prayed throughout the day. Indeed, I have. Some days I pray very consciously. Other days I "pray" more frequently simply by taking notice of God's presence and sharing my life and experiences of the moment with Him as one would with Someone who is one's best friend, parent, and lover all rolled into one Entity.
At night, as in the early morning, though, my attention is undivided. Also, unlike during the day when I alternate please for guidance with exclamations of gratitude, I have little to say at night.
In fact, I usually feel like I am cheating in some way. Instead of a litany of formal prayers that I have yet to learn well enough to pronounce all by myself, I simply enunciate words of gratitude, ask for grace and mercy for those for whom I have promised (or feel prompted) to pray, beg briefly for my dreams to center only on good and on God, and then fall silent, relaxing in God's pervasive presence, sinking into His soft love, like a long-married couple gently swinging together on the porch as the night settles around them.
From that quick-to-arrive point of profound comfort, I turn all communication and its direction over to God. I become a listener.
As much as I would like to stay awake forever, held in that merciful and loving embrace, I inexorably drift into sleep like a gently rocked baby immersed in a lullaby.
Yes, I do feel like I am cheating. I don't intone any mantra to induce a state of meditation but slip easily into a contemplative state by letting God do all the work. I don't sit in the "right" position that I have been taught; typically, I don't sit at all. I don't spend specific amounts of time doing specific things or saying specific prayers. Proper or not, the end of my day has arrived, and with my battery (and duties) discharged, I don't want to be in control of anything, even myself. So whether or not I am cheating, not following "the system" or "breaking the rules," on some level I don't care. If God wants me to follow the rules, I assume He will let me know what those rules are. Until He does, I intend selfishly to let God do all the work and just rest/sleep at His feet.
Is that really cheating? Am I too presumptious of the love and mercy that God gives regardless of my deserving it? (I guess that is what grace is all about.) Should I, though, be doing more? Oh, the unanswered questions!
(In a moment of contemplation, I felt led to write this post. I wonder if I will find out why -- or if I have written well enough to find out why. Or if it was an exercise to get me to consider these thoughts. Oh, the unanswered questions!)
Julian of Norwich’s Timeless Message
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