Contemplative Prayer

I sat in silence at Richmond Hill, a few weeks ago. In that space, I could hear hear the rustling of my breath moving in and around the hairs in my nostrils. I listened the creaking of wood slats on the floor, as people shuffled into the room. I dusted the wooden bench with my left buttock, trying to move off of my coccyx into a more comfortable position. Eyes still closed, I listened to the squeak of hinges on the doors as people came in and their footsteps were tip-toed and soft. There was rustling of pages being turned in Books of Common Prayer. Someone sneezed and then cleared their throat. I heard some knuckles cracking. Then the noises stopped. There was the open sound of air moving around the room. My eyes were closed and through my lids I saw muted lights and shadows. I wondered what it would be like to be blind. My coccyx bone was starting to itch and I rolled the the other buttocks, as a cushion. I tried to straighten my back from the slumping position. It was hard to sit still. I remembered my mother pinching my thigh, when I wiggled in church as a child. I closed my eyes and remembered how she stared at me, from the pews into the choir loft I was sitting in, after she noticed I was whispering to my friend. I could not clear my head of thoughts. I listened to a soft voice begin to pray. I heard the voices around me, in response, "Lord Hear our Prayer." I remembered the time I was sitting with a boyfriend, during college days, on a meditation retreat, wondering if what the chants were saying. I have laid on church benches listening to complines in dark pews. Sometimes they were so beautiful, I could feel my heart swell inside of my chest and tears well out of my eyes. I wondered if God was trying to reach me. I tried to listen but nothing. I tried to relax. I found my head nodding and I almost succumbed to sleepiness and was nudged awake by my own snoring. I suppose that I'd rather be alert and awake and moving to God's will than sitting silently wondering what it is.

Margaret is listening for the God of her understanding...