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Light Your Lamps

Wise Virgins - artist Gloria Ssali
I woke from a dream this morning. I won't go into the details, as other people's dreams rarely make any sense to anyone else, but I woke with the feeling of being vigilant. It made me think of the ten wise virgins and the ten foolish one; the wise ones were vigilant - waiting for the bridegroom.

"Pray always" the apostle Paul tells us - another form of vigilance. Once when visiting my mother, one of my daughters slept in one of the two twins bed my mother has in her room. Upon waking in the morning, my daughter whispered to me, "Mom, Grandma prays ALL THE TIME...even in her SLEEP!"Vigilance.

Another time I was watching a show on TV that highlighted a group of Greek Orthodox monks. When asked how he followed the directive to "pray always," one monk said that no matter what he was doing (gathering olives, pruning trees, raking), he prayed, "Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

If you're at all like me, you have to be intentional in prayer. It doesn't flow from our lips and hearts continuously. Yet, the intention to pray, the desire to be in conversation with God, is also prayer. That's why it is so important to surround ourselves with reminders of that - whether it's a prayer book or Bible that sits on your desk that you can grab during the day, an icon, a prayer card....whatever it is that your eyes can fall upon and you can say, "Yes, God: I want to hear your voice." We need reminders, we need vigilance, we need to light our lamps.

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Crossing Guard

I saw you
today
as you guided
your little man across that busy street.

You were wearing some
big man boots
and
watching cars and lights.

Your little man had on
black sneakers and
a Mickey Mouse hat
that bounced
as he walked.

He wasn't watching nothing but
your big man boots
and
the white stripes of the crosswalk.

Just before
he got to the sidewalk again,
his step bounced a bit
- he hopped over
a spot where the asphalt broke.

You turned to look,
holding out a hand to
your little man.
Not rushed or angry,
just making sure
he got up
on that sidewalk.

Then you walked on,
in your big man boots,
face into a cold Michigan wind,
with the little man behind,
his hat bouncing.