WHY AM I AWAKE?
The comforter feels heavy. My body is sore. So is my spirit. I shift from one side to the other and turn on my back, but it doesn’t help.
I look over to the night table at the old digital clock that once told my parents the time of day or night — the inheritance with the BIG red numbers that glow in the dark to help old folks read them.
The red numbers read 3:13.
I throw off the covers, stumble down the 18 steps to the first floor, make a pot of coffee, pour myself a cup, turn on the small table lamp by the fireplace, and sit down for an early morning conversation with the psalmist in the copy of The Book of Common Prayer Sue Kahn put in my hand years ago.
MEDITATION ON PSALM 5 (SELECTED VERSES)
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
early in the morning I make my appeal and watch for you.[v.3]
I will put my trust in You. I will not surrender to powers that know no higher power.
You, Lord, are the Breath that breathes in all and makes the sun to shine and the rain to fall on the just and unjust — “Lord of lords and King of kings,” the Eternal One from Whom the little kings and usurpers cannot flee.
I make my appeal to You for Whom the darkness is as light. Things are dark here in America. We are divided. The future looks dark. Although my faith tells me You are present everywhere, I do not feel hopeful. It seems as though You have left us to our own devises.
For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness,
and evil cannot dwell with You. [v.4]
Though it feels as though You are hiding, I have to believe You do not take pleasure in wickedness, and that the partisan evil, as bold and obvious as the big red numbers on my parents’ digital clock at 3:13 A.M, will not prevail. Evil cannot dwell with You.
Braggarts cannot stand in your sight; you hate all those who work wickedness. [v.5]
Does it matter to You?
If braggarts cannot stand in Your sight, come into sight. Show Yourself. Take Your seat on the judgment throne to hold the braggarts accountable for their treason against You and all that breathes. Summon the braggarts to stand before You before it is too late.
Do You hate wickedness? Does Love also hate? Do You shrug and let it go?
But as for me, through the greatness of your mercy I will go into your house;
I will bow down toward your holy temple in awe of you. (v.7)
I will bow down in awe of You. The good green Earth is Your temple. I will look to the greatness of Your mercy. When it feels as though You are hiding, I will seek You. I will remember the wisdom of the Hasidic grandfather teach his grandson about You, when young Yechiel came home in tears because his friend had stopped looking for him in a game of hide-and-seek.
“Rebbe Barukh caressed Yechiel’s face, and with tears welling up in his eyes, he whispered softly, ‘God too Yechiel, God too is weeping. For, He too has been hidden with no one looking for Him’.” (Martin Buber, Tales of the Hasidim).
I will look for You.
Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, Dec. 6, 2019.
The Lord is in control! We can safely wait in patience.
I’d be willing to try that. I never answer the darned thing anyway – just bill collectors and robo calls. In those better days, people actually called each other to have conversations.
I had one 20 yrs ago and quit. For those who prefer solitude to crowds and quiet to noise, no phone is the best phone. We’re in a more real, less distracted, less anxious state of heart and mind. Besides, I’ve learned something without one. I’m not that important, and that feels very right and good. Just my thoughts for the day.
The only reason I keep mine is because I’m traveling so much trying to make a living. Starting to look forward to the facility – no electronic anything.
In an opposite reaction to these dark days, I cannot leave my bed. Pets surround me wondering about empty bowls. Dishes are piled in the sink. I too turn to the psalmist and then pull the comforter over my head and pray and escape into sleep.
Does it happen to everyone who left Cincinnati? Is it in the water? Are we in Flint, MI? If the Senate fails to convict Rudy’s defendant, we’ll all be living in Flint before long.
Possibly – they all seem pretty happy down there. Me? I’m going back to bed.
It’s going around. Maybe it’s the phones. Oops! Nobody calls them phones any more. Maybe if we gave them up en masse for Advent, it would stop?