Monday, July 12, 2010

swim, swam, swum. (10!)

Swimming makes me tired. And hungry. And then super tired some more. Exercise doesn't take energy, it makes energy. Right? Sure. I have developed a system. As I swim, I repeat the Jesus Prayer.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
I say this simple prayer over and over as I swim. Then I change it up a little and start inserting other things like, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on this job interview that I'm nervous about." This is working for me for a number of reasons. I have assigned different needs/worries/fears to different laps, which makes the laps easier to keep track of. I don't have to count. I just have to remember that I was on my Benjamin laps, but had only done one, I have one more to go. Also, it helps me to finish my half mile because if I don't not everyone gets prayed for and then I feel guilty.
It is, obviously, not a terribly mature way to pray, but I don't feel terribly mature in my prayer life. Or like I have a prayer life at all. You have to start somewhere. Recently things have started to weigh pretty heavily on me and rather than fretting or ignoring them, I am choosing to pray rote prayers about them. My best friend's new little boy has downs syndrome, my brother and his wife discovered, at 21 weeks, that they are pregnant, and my beloved godson lives far away and is growing up without me. In all these things, it is better to pray.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy.

I have been thinking often, though not deeply, about my very own spirituality. On my long flight from Dallas to Japan I wrote this:
It is not Jesus I am unsure of; it is church services and prayer and pastors and worship leaders and missionaries and republicans. It is eternity and individualism and materialism and ownership and salvation. Will God judge me for having read Charles Williams and altered my life not at all? And a better question; Will I be accepted anyway?
I think often, but not deeply, about my friends conversions to Catholicism. How Protestants are never taught any form of discipline, grow up believing anything is acceptable, and then, when grown, don't believe anything at all. My catholic friends are beautiful examples of steady, thoughtful, intentionally worshipful people. My Protestant friends are often, though of course not always, cynical and negative with arbitrarily assigned beliefs. We are just as likely to learn our doctrine from society or poetry as from anywhere else. We have no grounding. Myownself as a resounding example. We learn more of God as we grow. Our view of him changes. But he shouldn't change. He shouldn't grow to look more like us.
I've edited my book list, removing what I've finished reading. I will admit to taking a serious detour and reading all of my mothers Mitford Series books. Trite, silly things. I read them quickly, I promise. They do make me cry. I intend to reread The Man Who Was Thursday next, and then plow ahead with War and Peace. I'm something like 30 pages in, having started it before I left. I have decided to save The Grapes of Wrath for the plane home, knowing that I will love it, and that it is ginormous. When I read East of Eden it was on a 28 hour overnight bus ride from Atlanta to Waco, and it is an experience that I treasure. A twelve hour layover in Hong Kong and then an overnight plane ride from Hong Kong to New York's JFK is just the ticket.

We are preparing for a storm. The weather man says three days of 50-60 mph winds and 9 ft waves. Thrilling.


Donnell said...

It's like meditating.

Eleanor said...

Absolutely it is. I find swimming to be peaceful when I'm not pushing myself so hard. Adding this in has helped focus my thoughts elsewhere.

The Coles said...

i think you have found a very wise and real way to pray.

i'm holding Asha right now, and she says hello and she thinks your beautiful.