It could be the pregnancy hormones or the fact that the world is outright brimming with glory and horror. The tears are so used to riding my lower lids, to being blinked away fast or let run in a stream down my cheeks.
I curled up on my prayer bench and watched the wind move the boughs of the tallest of pines. Edison was mowing the lawn, hovering over a bare patch and laughing as he was engulfed in a dust cloud. There are reasons I have to scrub a dirt ring off the tub and a reason I smile out the window at my son. Because I don’t deserve any of this joy and a man was beheaded yesterday because he was a Christian. I watch the boughs sway and I just pray, “Lord, have mercy”.
Here the oatmeal raisin cookies are baking in the oven and there the village is without water for days and children are dying. Children are dying and how can that not give your soul a shock? My eyes ride heavy.
It’s the incongruence, see? The blooming flowers and dark red tomatoes and Henrik smiling his pie-eating grins and the baby kicking at me within and all this beauty and safety and peace. And then over there, ebola ravaging whole cities, ISIS on a killing spree, women and children forced into sexual slavery, and temporary truces in an ancient grudge gone ballistic.
So, yes, we pray and we give, but I hurt for those suffering and I feel a deep shame that my small problems make themselves large in my mind. So what else can I ask of the Lord, beyond His mercy, His intervention? I ask to be kept brimming tears.
I ask to be kept vulnerable to the pain of others, I ask Him to beat back hopeless apathy, I ask Him to keep me awake. I ask Him to keep my wallet open and my heart merciful, and my soul full of intercession. I ask Him to snuff out the heresy that prayer doesn’t shake the very foundations, that it doesn’t effect powerful change. I ask Him to keep me thankful for His gifts, but with the very real sobering sense that it’s rare to have so many.