Saturday, January 9, 2010

In. Out. Often.

Some changes come without foresight, like a car pulling out from a blind driveway. While the double-shot of adrenaline pumps through your heart, you put on the brakes and invoke your sacred loves. Only afterwards do you have a chance to assess the change wrought in you by what you never saw coming.

And some changes you see coming from a long way off, like a little town on a long stretch of open highway. Miles away, you see it, but for a while it seems no closer, just a dark pinprick that might be a bit bigger than a moment ago.

But events along awaited do come at last. My big event is here.

Today is our wedding day. Many things shall end today, and many begin. I woke long before dawn and could not sleep again. I feel calm, but charged, and alert to the end of my fingertips: alive to divine presence and all that's good to see, smell, and touch.

But with the constant, slow release of adrenaline, I often catch myself holding my breath. I make myself then take long, slow, steady draughts of air, and it occurs to me that we ought to pray in the same way that we breathe: in, out, and often.

I remember because prayer must be the breath I breathe today - especially today - because today is not, in fact, about the dress and the tux, or the cake and the flowers, or even, at its most profound depths, about the bride, the groom, or our loved ones. Today is about God. For God it was who brought two strangers on the intricate paths that brought us to the right place at the right time, and God it was who over the last months made a man and of woman of no relation into kin of soul. And God it shall be who laughs the loudest with joy to give Adam back his rib again.

In all the imperfection that mars us and the world there works a perfectly good God. Today I stand on a mountaintop where for a brief transfigured hour, the goodness of God in all of life, which we celebrate in the ceremony and the reception, is easily traced.

And to give him glory, I breathe and I pray: in. out. often. May I do so still when we descend again below the clouds.

Whatever joyous or hard thing awaits you today, breathe, dear friends, and pray: in. out. often.