There is something disconcerting and something else peaceful about being still in thought and silent in word in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
But en route to the church, I think.
I have to spill my guts to Christ, I think.
I think I have to tell him something and wait for his response, or for a blanket of warmth if it’s cold out, or something, or an inexplicable breeze if it’s not (neither has ever happened, it’s just what I think of). That this time, my prayer should be intentional and uninterrupted. No distractions.
And so in the church, I kneel, and I greet Jesus, and then I remember an email or a deadline or my attitude problem. I rein in my thoughts. I greet Jesus again, and focus firmly on the tabernacle first. Then on the giant crucifix above it. Then on how much I could go for some bacon.
Come on, Arleen.
I greet Jesus. Again.
I want to say words, more words than the ones in my default opener.
Thank you, Lord…
…but I can’t think of any.
Which bothers part of me. The part that thinks I should be able to articulate a reason to be here, that I should gush, or at least communicate for more than a minute before my mind turns to how hungry I am or to whether I should wear my hair curly tomorrow. The part that thinks I have no excuse for this.
The other part of me knows that this speechlessness in front of Jesus is ok. That’s the part that recalls how many times I have been told not to talk as much as I listen. To make what distracts me part of my prayer. That the sacrifice of being there is prayer enough sometimes.
Again, I greet Jesus.
Sorry for the time(s) I was awake enough to watch four reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond but too tired to pray by the time I turned off the TV. Sorry for the time(s) I put the snooze button before you. For zoning out during the homily. For all my seeking first the other stuff.
I think, then, of all the other stuff.
Then I greet Jesus, again.
A version of this post originally appeared on the blog in 2014.