Thoughts on prayer.

There is something disconcerting and something else peaceful about being silent in thought and word in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

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 will 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 I want to be a better public speaker.

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 thinks it’s totally 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.