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Sunday, September 6, 2015

I am Soaking Wet and I am Freezing and I Can't Remember how I Got Here

It should probably have been cause for alarm when this was the narrative playing over and over again in my head as I traipsed through the woods... alone... in the rain... in an unfamiliar city.  But I have long since passed the point of alarm...  And that reference to not remembering how I got here?  I didn't mean Portland.  I meant life.

The other day, someone who regularly reads this blog asked me if I was going to become Catholic.  I smiled.  The answer to that is no, but I continue to be surprised by how vast the disparity is between typical, mainstream Protestants and Catholics.  If exploring sacraments, and deciding that I love them, is enough to create doubt about my Protestantism; I think we have a real problem.  And it's not that sacramental living is to be avoided.  It's that we have avoided it to the point of misunderstanding.

So, I'm still out of town, and it's Sunday.  The truth is, I don't always "go to church" when I'm out of town.  The truth is, I had no intention of "going to church" today.  However, in my research regarding what I might like to do today, I came across "The Grotto", which is a Catholic shrine and retreat center.  Of course I needed to spend the day there, and it didn't make any sense to skip Mass if I was going to be there, anyway, so I "went to church" after all.  Of course it was beautiful and inspiring and of course I felt like I was probably wearing a big scarlet "P" (for Protestant) on my shoulder, because I'm still getting the hang of the rhythms of Catholic Mass.  I participated in the Eucharist even though the priest said it was only for Catholics, today.  I don't think I got caught.

I spent some time walking through the stations of the cross, St. Joseph's grove, via matris, and the mysteries of the rosary.  Honestly, it was a little overwhelming and will probably take me some time to unpack it all.  For tonight, I would like to focus, briefly, on my experience at the prayer labyrinth.

Most people are really uncomfortable with silence.  I actually like silence.  A lot.  Maybe too much.  I took probably an hour or so to walk silently through the prayer labyrinth, allowing God to speak to me, speaking to God when I reached the center, and then allowing God to speak to me again on the way back out.  There is something significant about measured movement and directed time.  I really like the idea of prayer as breathing, and I think it is essential for us to "pray continually" (I Thessalonians 5:17, NIV).  But praying, very intentionally, for an hour, was good too.  I think maybe I need a prayer labyrinth in my backyard. 

Like many experiences in my life, this one has caused me to consider rhythms again.  I wonder what it will take to create the kind of time and space that are conducive to this kind of communion with God on a regular basis.  I feel as if I waste an extraordinary amount of time every day, and yet I also often feel as if there is not enough time to accomplish everything I should be doing.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to find that it's a matter of priorities.  It usually is.


P.S.  I could have titled this post, "Confessions of a Protestant girl who now owns a rosary and has no idea what to do with it."  I might have done a little bit of birthday shopping... for myself... in the gift shop.

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