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A CHOICE
December 2, 2005
 
Bake cookies or write an eMo? Five different cookie recipes have been burning a hole in my pocket ever since before Thanksgiving, and the rest of today stretches invitingly before me -- nowhere to go and nothing tugging at my sleeve for the rest of the day. Two pounds of butter is softening on the kitchen counter, and the mixer is out and ready to go.

But I will write first. There have been too many checkered days lately, days on which the dependable routine of prayer and writing has broken down. Such days leave me rootless and a bit edgy: they seem to have no
beginning and no end, to hang suspended in uncertainty.

What happens to you if you don't pray? Bad things? Does God turn away, refuse to hear you when you really do need him? None of the above. Bad things don't happen to the unobservant any more often than they do to the devout: stuff just happens, as those bumper stickers used to say. The love of God falls gently upon us all, people much wickeder than I am and people infinitely more righteous. Prayer has nothing to do with staying on God's good side.

All that happens is that you don't have a life of prayer. And, if a life of prayer is what you want, rooted in the exploration of what it mean to be a human being beloved of God, you drift further and further from what you want. You are like a person who needs a hammer but refuses to go to the hardware store.

That's the life I want, that rooted life, a life whose blessings makes its energy available for everything good. The wind outside my office window is blowing the bird feeder crazily back and forth, spinning it around and around in wild circles, but a titmouse and a purple finch perch inside it, feeding calmly at one of the little openings. They seem unconcerned about the wind, unafraid and focused on the task at hand.

That's the life I want.
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