by Diane Thrush
From “Spiritual Practices – Living the Gift,” the Spring/Summer 2014 issue of Reflections magazine. To read the entire issue, click here.
Wouldn’t I love to say that I have been reading and praying the Daily Office for almost 40 years because that’s what Christians do! The truth is, I have been practicing my faith in this way for all these years out of sheer desperation. You see, I learned a long time ago that I couldn’t do it alone.
In 1976 we were living in Denver with two small children, far from family and emotional support. Having had a spiritual awakening, I became aware that I could not survive life and its problems without God at my side – all the time! As with any young mother, sleep was very important to me. Yet, I knew that if I was to get through my day relatively unscathed by life, I was going to have to make time for God.
That meant getting up before my children while the house was quiet, reading the appointed scriptures for the day, and praying. There was nothing glamorous, no mountain-top high, no bells and whistles – just the acknowledgment that I HAD to do this for me. And so began this now-almost lifelong practice for me.
As the children got older, some stresses lessened and others took their place. Whether it was motherhood, marriage, money, relationships, I didn’t find life to be a bowl of cherries. It was certainly not what I had in mind as I faced life not as the product of fairy tale images but in all its gritty reality. Working outside the home – being a working mother – brought its own problems, the ones that many of us face on a regular basis.
Always, what everyday life meant for me was a sense of complete and total need for the Lord, all day all the time. That still meant for me giving up sleep to spend that quiet time in scripture and prayer. I knew at the deepest level of my being that I couldn’t live without that time.
My sacred space was just a chair and end table in our family room, no big deal. I had one icon on the wall that was a focal point. Sometimes there was a candle. But, there was always my Bible, my prayer book, my prayer journal, and Forward Day by Day. Did every scripture verse pop out for me? No. Did I leave my space every day having had a moment closest to God? No. But, it was as important to me as brushing my teeth – I wouldn’t have even considered beginning my day without that time.
No matter what problems I have faced in my life I have always approached my daily time with the Lord as an absolute necessity to facing each day, come what may. That does not make me holy. It makes me a person completely aware that I cannot do it alone. “For God alone my soul awaits in silence” (Psalm 62).
Diane Thrush is a retired chaplain and a member of St. Luke’s, San Antonio. Reach Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org
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