I’ve started a new book, Wonder, Fear, and Longing – a book of prayers by Mark Yaconelli. It’s a book I had to read for class last semester, but I wanted to spend more time with it so I’m going back to the beginning of the book. I like how Yaconelli slows the pace of this to give us a short chapter on an attribute: the first chapter is on love. Then we’re given scripture to prime our thoughts followed by a prayer for the activity of meditation upon several quotes for the day. He asks us to take a deep breath, find a comfortable position and begin identifying everything reframing things as God’s love. Then he suggests we ask God to remind us of a time when we felt deeply loved. I spent some time on my yoga mat trying to remember as far back as I could.
I have a vivid memory of when I was 4 or 5 years old and Dad carrying my in from the car at night because I’d fallen asleep in the back seat. I remember this one particular night because he told me I was getting too big for him to carry. I’d have to walk from the car to the house. I remember feeling so, so sad and disappointed that I’d no longer feel dad’s strong body lifting me and balancing me as he opened the house door. I remember how I loved feeling secure and cared for on the nights he carried me and I woke half way because of the cold night air against the warmth of my breath.
I tried to go further back in my memory and while I have some from when I was three or maybe even two there’s only one that is particularly caring/loving. My grandfather had come to our house after a hospital stay. I wanted to climb up on his bed and keep him company. My mom was trying to scoot me out of the room so grandpa could rest. He suggested we lay down for a little nap and I was so pleased with myself for winning over mom. I stayed with him for all of about 3 minutes skittering down off the tall bed (tall for a 2 or 3 year old). What was loving about it was how grandpa was willing to have me next to him. He probably knew it’d only last a short while.
I miss physical closeness with loved ones. I miss arms that envelop me and make me feel safe. For this week’s meditation, Yaconelli wants us to identify where God was in that remembered moment. When I think of the male aspect of God I like to remember feeling safe and guarded in my dad’s or grandpa’s strong protective and supportive arms. Sometimes I’m able to sense a presence behind me with my shoulders and back tucked snuggly under arms that keep me safe, but don’t hold me back from being who I’m meant to be. I imagine that presence as Jesus. I like that feeling.