We have grandchildren today. Not an uncommon occurrence.
But today the smallest one has a new “house”. Two sheets around the dining table / chairs. Nana has been solving the housing shortage. And little Xander has a new house. He has a torch and a tablet – and snacks (no home is complete without snacks every now and then).
And working upstairs in my office, I keep hearing Xander call for “Nana”. Nana is splitting her time between both boys – with each preferring a different room today.
And unless Nana responds PDQ …
And again (if still no “PDQ”) …
And again …
“NANA – NANA – NANA!”
(by which time Nana always makes contact)
“Yes, Xander … ?”
(and life returns to normal)
I think the difference between prayer (a lot of the time) and “downstairs” (today) is a lot like this.
We are taught to pray.
“Hi God, it’s me. I have a little list, and here it is … (“list” is read out). Now if you fix that lot pdq, I would be grateful, in Jesus’ name, amen.”
We pray a monologue and find it unsatisfactory. We find it a discipline and duty. The discipline and duty of prayer. Lists of things to monologue.
Xander doesn’t do monologues. Xander never monologues. Xander says something and waits until we repeat it back. Xander wants to know that we know what he knows. Xander doesn’t talk to himself. Xander doesn’t even “talk”. Xander chats.
More and more for me – that is what prayer is. It is not the asking – it is the sharing – it is the contact – it is the connecting.
And just as Xander calls stridently for “Nana” – Nana responds and finds something important like … Xander wants to share a speck of black on the carpet … wants the reassurance that this spot of black is safe … wants to share the wonder of saying “black” … wants the company of someone who also finds black spots to be the coolest thing that second.
Imagine praying like that just … “because” … !
Imagine sharing wonder … fun … confusion … hope … sadness … pain … laughter … Imagine sharing excitement at being … “excited”.
Imagine if prayer was that.
Xander doesn’t have to imagine. Xander just is. And I hear Nana’s love that she just “is” with Xander. And I feel in my heart that tug of love just because we are all just “is” together.
And we see in Xander that life … “is” – love … “is” – everything just … “is”.
Maybe that is what prayer “is”.