“She saw him standing in the parlor with his beautiful old head bowed down…praying looks just like grief. Like shame. Like regret.”
–Lila, p. 95, Marilynne Robinson, 2014
Head bowed is the posture of humility, the position of a supplicant, petitioner, intercessor, or giver-of-thanks that looks to the eyes of the misinformed like grief or shame or regret. There is certainly all of that in those who pray, but it’s so much more, so much deeper, so much more reassuring.
We are often our own worst enemies. Every experience of the Beloved causes the head to bow and a tear to fall.