I stepped out today.
Left our sanctuary and sat for a bit in yours.
I took my shoes off and dug my feet into your ground, hoping it might actually ground me.
I feel like I’m falling.
So I sat. With my toes digging into your earth.
I tried to breathe,
But the cars were driving by.
I tried to listen to the wind,
But I heard a child wailing.
It’s been so hot,
But the sun isn’t out today.
I want to focus on you, or your voice, or your call, or your peace or your something,
But there’s a helicopter circling overhead,
A moving truck rumbling along,
And an actual mailman, in his knee-high mail socks, walking by,
There’s some jerk spinning out his muscle car in front of the hardware store.
And my heart, inside my chest is being pulled and dragged and broken and torn by every issue, need, illness, and injustice.
I can hear all of your people shouting, “HOW LONG?”
Can’t you hear it?
They’re loud. They’re everywhere. And they need you.
No muscle car spinning, no city sirens, no hovering helicopter, no attempted quiet moment on the church steps, no nothing can drown it out right now.
And I’m shouting, too, only I’m too tired to make much noise.
So my heart, that same one that’s being pulled and pulled inside my being, is now silently shouting too.
And the ground won’t keep me.
The grass is too dry.
It breaks off in my toes.
I’m still falling.
I try to breathe again, and there’s a wind,
It’s one of those get-inside-a-storm’s-a-comin’ winds.
It over-fills me. And I can’t quite take it.
And it takes that to make me remember-
with sighs too deep for words
When our voices are worn, and our breath is labored, when the ground won’t hold us, when our broken hearts are racing and raging and screaming, when we search but are overwhelmed, when we seek but we can’t hear or feel or find you, you give us a moment, a bit of space and air, maybe even a bit too much, and help us to remember-
Your Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.
I sit here.
Dangling these worn feet in this dry, nearly dead grass,
Surrounded by all that noise,
Outside and within,
And I’ll just rest in your sighs.
Because there,
In your deep breaths,
In your heavy moans,
In your longing gasps,
In your non-wordiness,
My pain isn’t alone.
My lament is also yours.
And we are in this.
And we can sit for a little while.
In these sighs, much, much too deep for words.
We don’t have to fix it. We don’t have to speak out. We don’t need to do it all.
Not right now.
We’re just going to sit here with these sighs.
With these sighs.
With these sighs.
Too deep for words.
With these sighs.
Your sighs.
(Thank God.)

The Rev. Erin Counihan serves as pastor at Oak Hill Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) in St. Louis, MO and is a contributor to the RevGals book. She blogs (sometimes) at http://www.somewhatreverend.wordpress.com.

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5 thoughts on “Thursday Prayer

  1. NOW I understand “with sighs too deep for words.” Thank you, Paul, and thank you more, Rev. erin.


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