"And we are put on earth a little space, / That we may learn to bear the beams of love." William Blake.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Prayer, Prone Pose

Maxim II 
Pray as you can, not as you think you must. 
~Fr. Thomas Hopko, 2015 from 55 Maxims. 

Most of my morning prayers lack all piety and right-ness, or righteousness, for that matter. But, like Sunday Liturgy, if I skip them, the day goes to hell.

My mother's alarm clock in its new native habitat.
I've learned to wake before the alarm. That habit began years ago, long before I made a morning prayer rule. It started with my first alarm clock, a Lloyd's hand-me-down from my mother-- still alive and proof that old stuff was made to last. It still bleats like a lamb being stabbed. In college I got a bit superstitious about the hideous noise. I believed my day would prove unlucky if my ears heard the anguished bleating. Until I got an iPhone clock, I used it. For a couple of years it lay in the bottom of a sock drawer. Now my thirteen-year-old uses it. It proves its mettle, getting him out of bed in its noisome glory. I tell myself, that it contributed to my prayer rule, however, impious. I would try to beat it awake and so, for a long time, I woke ten or fifteen minutes before its cries and that became a perfect for prayer, prone pose.

The older I become, the earlier my body salutes the new day. In spring, I rise with the sun. As the seasons warm and brighten, I cannot burrow into the firm mattress with its eggshell top, under the quilt of Guatemalan patchwork. I cannot succumb to the drug of my neighbor's wood-burning stove. I pray. I stare out my window into the void that is white vinyl siding of my neighbor's house, a mere eight feet from me. I recite words that call me out of fog.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

If I were pious, I would lumber out of bed and kneel. I taped an icon of Christ the Savior on my window trim. I could stand before it in the dawn light. Or, at least I could bother to make the sign of the Cross. But the covers are so heavy. I am the dead, the sleeper being called to action: Awake, awake, O Sleeper. Arise from the grave.

Alas. I lay in prone pose.

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