Today’s Prayer to Passage comes from one of my favorite books, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
My prayer is, “Dear God, Be with me, check in with me, protect me, and remind me that You are here.”
Preserving Prime Time
“…Over the last few years, I have practically weaned myself from television and was simply amazed at the time I’ve found for more pleasurable and rewarding pursuits.
This week, become aware of how much television you watch so that you can start preserving prime time. Writer Barbara Ehrenreich believes television’s lure is that it reveals what we crave the most in the deep recesses of our hearts: ‘a rich, new, participatory life.’ Perhaps you might begin living the life you crave once you stop letting the one you have go down the tube.”
—SARAH BAN BREATHNACH
Before I selected this book for my daily practice of prayer and meditation, I had closed my laptop with the credits still rolling after viewing a film I could not take my attention from for even the slightest of moments. Usually movies and television serve as mere background noise; a creature comfort, virtual visitor in the room with me. This one was different. By the end, I found myself so drawn to the storyline that I felt I had just spent the entire day reading the book upon which the film was based.
And I wondered, “Am I known by the company I keep?” There are quite a few shady, seedy, sociopathic characters in some of the shows that I watch with whom I would very much not like to associate if they existed in real life. To add to that, this includes characters who actually do exist in reality; thank you, 21st century television. When I am fully present, fully engaged in something beyond the audio and visual noise coming from any one of the five screens in my household, it feels like Christmas morning for adulthood. The good life. A quality conversation, a gorgeous meal, laughter and witty banter, enjoyable movement of any sort, nature, creative play, and sacred silence. More of all of these, please. This kind of living sometimes feels so rare and remote, yet it is the only remote I really want to be searching for.
I listened to a powerful and refreshing lecture last week. The speaker directed listeners to “fast from noise.” So I did. For two days. And I was visited by a host of insights that I was convinced had retired to the doldrums of a once thriving thinking life. These insights were God.
I had finally carved enough time out of my racket-filled regular to hear God’s peaceful, omniscient voice reminding me, “Be still. And know that I am God. Be still. And know that I am God. Be still. And know that I am God.”
Throughout all of life’s seeking — through the years of studies and the hope of someday applying knowledge and skill in return for a reliable paycheck; through the active years of marriage, career, and child rearing; and finally in retirement — how often, how many times, do we stop and really hear the still, all-knowing voice of God? Life moves so fast, and we move right along with it. Fast from noise. Try it. Set aside an amount of time where you are able to be. Be still. And know that God is there with you, checking in with you, protecting you, and reminding you of the presence of God.
“A rich, new, participatory life.”