A lovely poem appeared in my inbox today courtesy of Minimergent (a more or less daily e-mail from Emergent Village.)
It hit a nail on the head.
I have been thinking a lot of how I struggle to pray- how words tend to be hollow- presumptuous, pompous, self seeking. How it seems as though I am speaking more to myself than to God at times.
And how I tend to fill everything I do with words- because words are the medium of my understanding, my meditation, my artistic endeavour.
So this poem makes a suitable prayer. Wordy though it may be;
I who live by words, am wordless when
I try my words in prayer. All language turns
To silence. Prayer will take my words and then
Reveal their emptiness. The stilled voice learns
To hold its peace, to listen with the heart
To silence that is joy, is adoration.
The self is shattered, all words torn apart
In this strange patterned time of contemplation
That, in time, breaks time, breaks words, breaks me,
And then, in silence, leaves me healed and mended.
I leave, returned to language, for I see
Through words, even when all words are ended.
I, who live by words, am wordless when
I turn me to the Word to pray.
Madelaine L’Engle ‘The Weather of the Heart’