there are chapters in a life where with all your might you want to pick up the phone, spout out the question, and have a voice on the other end of the line fill in the blank.
tell you what you need to know.
point the way down the long, dark hallway.
heck, shove open the very door you need to walk through.
trouble is, there is no such voice. no human one anyway.
my mama, always wise in such matters, even in her minimalist, straight-to-the-point ways, advised simply: “this is when you pray.”
yesterday morn, rumbling downtown to work on the rickety, rail-swinging el train, i felt myself reaching deep down to what felt like a bottomless pit, and coming up without a clue. so, i did as mama said, i figured, all right then, i’ll shut my mouth and pray.
right there, amid the iPads and the tangle of cords plugged into ears and the starbucks mugs threatening to slosh all over my puffy snowcoat, i clicked my inner-tuner over to the God channel. i coughed up my motherlode of questions. i clung to the cold metal pole that’s there for riders like me, ones holding on for dear life as the train sloshes and slurs along the tracks.
i never did hear a squeaky voice in my ear (besides, i was one of the rare ones, not plugged in to dangly wires). i didn’t even hear a deep low bass.
but i listened with my whole heart.
and by the time i got to the grand avenue station i found myself climbing up the stairs with some measure of conviction. by jove, i began to think, i can do this. i can stare my fears, my trepidations, my full-throttle self doubts right in the eyeballs, and i can say, “move back, busters, i’m comin’ through.”
sometimes, prayer is like that.
sometimes the answer lies deep in the quiet of our oft-shoved-aside soul.
we are deep in big decisions over here at our house, and it’s enough to wear me out.
but — how curious life is — at every turn there seems to be a hand extended, a gentle word, a kleenex when needed. we find there in the dark woods other travelers, asking the same questions, trying to find their way too.
i am so deeply grateful for the grace that’s all around. for the wisdom that seeps in through the cracks beneath the door. for the light that shines from down the block in the deep darkness of the night.
i don’t yet have my roadmap. don’t know which path i’ll claim.
but i do know that i’m not alone. and one way or another, i’ll come through these dark and piney woods.
forgive my veiled words. specifics aren’t the point here. everyone’s life is a puzzle, some passages more than others. the point is that we find our way through our own formula of grace and stumbling. and when we get confused, light comes. dawn after dawn, it’s the promise of the heavens.
how do you find your way when you are lost in the woods?