Sunday, August 7, 2011

Spread Your Wings: Aloft on God's Wind

As I walked along the sidewalk heading into church this morning, the early sun, although still low in the sky, was already sending out intense heat, as if announcing to all the heatwave was still on. Off to my right about a foot above my head, a dragonfly soundlessly kept pace with me as if he, too, were heading into the church. I smiled as I admired how lovely his translucent wings reflected the sun's rays, giving his wings an iridescent, golden framework to which the clear membranes attached.

My winged companion brought me back to last night's evening prayer. Now, I must first say I am quite lazy and neglectful with regard to my spiritual habits and relationship with God. After realizing how much of my precious time I spend ruminating over past wrongs, I began to assess how damaging this habit is to me spiritually and physically. In my first attempt to pull myself out of what I dub my "Tazmanian Devil" behavior (i.e. mentally spinning like the cartoon chracacter until I spin myself corkscrew style into the ground), I knew I had to, in the words of the classic hymn, "take it to the Lord in prayer."

And take it to the Lord, I did!! In the quiet of the evening, I darkened the living room and lit a candle (well, actually one of those electric tea lights -- safer, you know), and placed it in a multi-colored glass holder. I began by searching for a Psalm that would set the tone and evoke my emotions. It did not take long at all to "happen" upon the one: Psalm 42 --
As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.

2 My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
3My tears have been my food day and night,
while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”

4 These things I remember,>
as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.

5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation 6 and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.

7 Deep calls to deep
at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
have gone over me.
8 By day the LORD commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
9 I say to God, my rock:
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As with a deadly wound in my bones,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”

11 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

I then sat at the dining room table with the flickering candle before me. I sat with my hands on the table, palms up. I prayed. Such a long, heartfelt, intimate prayer -- conversation -- I had not had in a long time with my Father.

Today is a much better day -- night and day difference! As my dragonfly buddy accompanied me to worship, I thought how I had not been allowing my wings to spread, aloft on the Wind and basking in God's light. Instead, I had been using my wings in more of a defensive posture, like the young robin my dog scared up the other day. In an early morning, quick game of Frisbee, in some odd way my pup had stepped on a young robin hiding in the grass. I don't know if it had been injured prior to our Frisbee game or if my dog had, indeed, trounced on it.

The fledling scurried away along the ground, trying to take flight, chirping and squawking in panic. My retriever naturally pursued it, curiously poking the bird with her nose and dabbing at it with her paw. The frightened bird crouched low to the ground, stretching its wings parallel to the ground like an old-fashioned fan, forming them in tense little triangles. It peered at us in a defiant glare, chirping and squawking all the while. I grabbed Retrieving Machine and pulled her back to the house.

Dragonfly brought that incident of the injured bird to mind, his golden wings in constrast to those of the little bird. The bird's were tensely and defensively stretched along the ground -- an unsafe place to be for a bird. The luminous wings of the dragonfly, in contrast, buzzed softly in glorious flight.

Life had trounced on me years ago. Sadly and wastefully, I continue to be frozen and frightened in a defensive posture on the ground.

But, it's a new day. I now endeavor to stretch my wings to catch God's updraft. I will push past the negativity, the stewing, the Tasmanian spinning and choose to cling to the hope we have in Christ. I desire to reflect God's love and light rather than my wimperings and grievances. I desire to bring hope ... to not bring down. I choose to get off the ground and fly!

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