The next step in the six step prayer process is: Significant Moments. What are the significant moments you and I might reflect upon in any given day? There are the obvious significant moments, celebrating a birthday or marriage anniversary, the birth of a child or grandchild, or the death of a parent, the loss of a job or the change in a relationship. There are so many significant moments in our lives; it is hard to catalogue them because each person has their own significant moments.
Looking back on this past week, there were several significant moments, first the death of our book keeper’s mother-in-law early on Monday morning. After a long illness and fading physical health she was ready to be released from this life and enter the next – eternal life. Her family assembled around her, each one spoke to her from their heart, kept vigil with her throughout the weekend until she breathed her last. She left the world quietly but in the embrace of her family, people who stood by her in faithfulness, trusting that this was not the end but a new beginning. God’s love was real to her in the presence of her caring family.
A second moment for me was a phone call from my dad who is getting a little more confused as the days go by, the dementia is inexorably advancing. His opening sentence was a bit startling until I paused and reflected that there are elements of war in our beings, and serving in two wars even behind the lines has an impact on an individual if not then, sometimes later in life. As dinner was approaching I was in the frame of mind to say, “Dad, the mess hall starts serving chow at 5:00 o’clock, I’m sure they’ll be calling you soon.” And with that one of the attendants from the doorway said, “Hey, Larry, are you ready for dinner?” And he concluded the conversation, listened to her and went to dinner.
What I keep learning from him is the challenge to listen, not just to the words, but the memories behind the words, memories from long ago. Memories though not easily expressed come back to him in feelings, worries and sometimes anxieties. So, I pray, “God give me the grace to listen, to hear what he has to say and be able to respond to him with kindness and compassion, even when he isn’t making a whole lot of sense.”
God is at work in our lives in ordinary and extraordinary moments provided we take the time to listen, pray and reflect on all those moments. Next: Peace – asking God to forgive you for any wrong you have committed against yourself or another and to fill you with a deep and abiding peace.
Blessings, Father Larry Hendel