Welcome back! I have been off of blogging since just before Christmas. As we would say in Newfoundland – “I was taking a spell.” I also took a two-week spell from my community as I visited my family in the holy land of Newfoundland. It was wonderful to spend time with my family, most especially to visit with my mother. It was good for her and it was good for me.
In many ways I did not want our time in NL to come to an end. Saying goodbye to family is never easy – and saying farewell to mom has becoming increasingly hard to do. But all good things must come to an end. My Nan Whyatt often said, “Meeting is pleasure and parting is pain!” Oddly enough, despite the fact that it is always good to go on a vacation, and even though it is hard to leave, it always seems sweet to come home when it is over. Sitting back in my own easy chair upon our return, I uttered the prayer – Thanks! Thanks for the time with people we love, thanks for safe travel, and thanks for the comfort I enjoy in my own home. Thanks!
A while back I read Anne Lamott’s book Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers. It is a quick read and really a good little book. It occurs to me that my trip allowed me to utter all three prayers. I prayed ‘Thanks’ – a lot! I have much to be grateful for. I also prayed ‘Wow’ – a lot! Newfoundland is beautiful and it is easy for those who have grown up in it to take it all for granted – I know I did. Having the opportunity to view the daily painting laid out by nature for the better part of two weeks was a great reminder to me of how powerful God’s creation is. WOW!
Not to mention the beauty of God’s creation as expressed in God’s children. Seeing how beautiful the children are and how much they have grown and how accomplished they all are – WOW! I also prayed ‘Help’ – a lot! Knowing that God will listen, I prayed help for all who needed help. Being in mom’s long-term care facility daily, gave me opportunity to pray ‘Help’ for many who needed help.
One of the joys of returning is coming back to my worship community. This too is a place where we can pray help, thanks, wow. We sometimes have problems with the prayer ‘help.’ I think we have no problem crying out in desperation when all seems lost, but on a deeper level I think we forget that we can speak with God and cry help when we need it. That is not to suggest that we put together a laundry list and see if God will fix them all. It is more to suggest that there is no concern on our heart that God does not want to hear. We can call to God for help.
The kids are our greatest teachers at St. Aidan’s. Today after church Kate (one of God’s works of art) came to show me her work of art!
In her work she depicts God with nice eyes and hands – (see the lower part of her work). Here prayer is “Help! There’s a monster in my bedroom.” She has also drawn very good renderings of the monster and of course herself. This is brilliant! Well done Kate! There is no problem too small or too big that we cannot call to God with sincerity for help. Kate does not like monster in her room — who would like that monster? There are times we cannot fix everything and at that time it is helpful to call speak with God and seek help! In the depths of Kate’s heart she knows that she can tell God that she is not happy about the monster in her bedroom! It is something that is probably not easy to fix either. Anne Lamott puts it this way:
But you know what? When…[we] have run out of good ideas on how to fix the unfixable, when we finally stop trying to heal our own sick, stressed minds with our sick stressed minds, when we are truly at the end of our rope and just done, we say the same prayer. We say “Help”
I am pleased to be back – and I am pleased to be reminded by one our youngest ministers that it is perfectly acceptable to ask God to help me when I feel that there is ‘a monster in my bedroom!’*
And so I ask…. for what do you need to say Help, Thanks, Wow?
*Speaking figuratively here – no jokes about my lovely wife please!
She on the other hand might have a legitimate beef about a monster in her bedroom : )