by Charles LaFond
My dog Kai and I have a routine, as do all families I suppose. I sit on the end of the couch for my breakfast and some warm tea and toast. Then, when I get up to do, well, just about anything, Kai sneaks up onto the couch to take the big warm spot I have left for him by my departure. Kai loves warm spots – couches, sun-drenched floors, fire places.
When I was a child I would often go with my parents to the Laurentian mountains for summer holidays. Swimming in those lakes with their sparkling water (and beach-laden salt-cans ready for the removal of leeches). The sun would drench and warm the lake water, however subterranean streams would flow into the lake with snow-melt and create cold spots and warm spots. I remember trying hard to stay in the warm spots as I swam.
We pray in order to enter the warm spots of life. God waits for us and has great compassion for the cold spots of our lives – and the leeches – silent sins which quietly attach and leave a mark. Prayer is our work- our showing up for a warm spot, so that our warming warms the people with whom we meet that day, and beyond. Our God, much as I love Her, is shy and very quiet sometimes. Understandably. Prayer can seem dull and can even ineffectual sometimes. But I believe that the prayers we pray to begin our day warm us and that the warmth we then carry into the world heals it and us.
So we pray. And we meet God and He shows up and warms us, slowly, sometimes even imperceptibly. We wait on Her to show up and we sit, seeking warmth. And then we get up and get going and do our very best. And yes, we fall, often. But we pray, and then do our best, and that is enough. And there are plenty of salt-cans around if we have eyes to see them. And the prayers help us to see the cold places and even the little leeches. And Jesus is ready, on the beach, to hit those mountain lake leeches with a handful of salt so that they tumble off and slither away.