Monday, August 25, 2008

Breakfast With Katie

It was another busy but very enjoyable weekend. They sure go by quickly! I woke up early on Saturday morning eager to meet my old friend, Katie, for breakfast. We has not seen one another in 38 years. Even though we've had some email correspondence and she's been getting my daily thoughts for a few years I wondered what it would be like to actually see her after so many years. I stood in front of the restaurant and waited for her. As soon as she drove into the parking lot I knew it was her. She didn't look that different to me, just a little older. As soon as we saw one another we had a big hug and when we were seated in the restaurant we just looked at one another for a few minutes. She seemed as happy to see me as I was to see her. Her personality and smile were exactly as I remembered them and she remembered my laugh. It was like no time at all had passed. Conversation was easy and we both laughed a lot. She reminded me that it was me who taught her how to drive a stick shift on my old VW Beetle. This is not the first time I have reconnected with someone from my past. Each time it has been a wonderful experience. I find it very nice to renew a friendship with someone who was a significant part of my life at one time. For me, it has been great to bring the past into my present. It has been easy for me because I am not the kind of person who has left a trail of broken and painful relationships nor have I ever burned bridges. Sometimes life and time separated me from people. It was never intentional for me and I doubt for them either. About half way through breakfast my prearranged surprise for Katie showed up. Yes, it was Chloe. When we spoke earlier in the week she asked about the possibility of meeting Chloe and I told her I would see what I could do. As you can imagine, Chloe was a big hit. Later, after my son left, an old lady came up to our table and told Katie and me what a lovely child we had! So, do not be afraid of your past. It can be the gift that keeps on giving. Live your present life in such a way that someday it, too, will be a gift from the past.

After breakfast on Saturday, Chloe came home with Pa Paw. Her best question of the weekend came on Sunday morning. We were still in bed when she said, "Pa Paw, why is Meemo saying it's too early to talk"? Someday Chloe will understand that Granny isn't a morning person. Fortunately, I am, so I enjoy it when Chloe shakes me awake and greets me with one of her world class smiles. When she does it we usually snuggle for a little while and we lay in bed and talk until we decide to go downstairs. After that we don't see Granny for hours. Yesterday, after we got up and made "Pa Paw's coffee", and Chloe's Strawberry "pink chocolate" milk, we sat in my chair and watched Walt Disney's version of Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book".

What is prayer? Most people would answer that prayer is talking to God. This is correct but it is not the entire answer. There are many kinds of prayer. Prayer as talking to God may be the most common form of prayer. Contemplative prayer, however, is more about listening to God. Instead of going to God with a laundry list of needs, one simply sits before God and says, "Here I am, Lord!" Contemplative prayer is more about listening and waiting than talking. It is sitting before God as an empty cup waiting to be filled. Too often we go before God as an empty cup with our wish list of what we want God to put into our cup. In contemplative prayer we sit and wait and offer our emptiness to God. We let God choose how we are best to be filled. In Psalm 42, we hear, "Be still and know that I am God". If you want to pray in a more contemplative way, find a quiet spot and simply sit. Be silent and still. Wait for God and he will come to you. Do this a couple of times a day, preferably before you start your daily work and again when your work is done. Twenty minutes each time is a good start. Be silent, be still, and breathe. There is a famous story about a priest who, every time he goes into his church, sees an old man sitting looking towards the tabernacle. Finally, after seeing the old man many times, the priest asks him, "What are you doing"? The old man said. "I look at Him and He looks at me". The famous mystic Meister Eckhart said, "The eye with which we look at God is the same eye with which God looks at us".

No comments: