|Chalice and Plate|
I have been going to pray in the adoration chapel for over a year now. (I aim for once a week, but don't always make it.) The chapel is small and tranquil. I can grow very still and peaceful in the chapel. As restful as it is, I could doze off mid-prayer.
But I have never have.
Even though my prayers can sometimes be repetitive ("Here I am again, Lord, with pretty much the same issues"), my mind and body stay engaged.
Until last week.
There I was, with a lot to lay at the altar...and I kept dozing.
I even dropped the pen I was holding, which drew the attention of other pray-ers. I hope I didn't snore, but I might have. After three nod-offs, I apologized to God and slipped out.
As I drove home, I thought about the disciples falling asleep in the garden of Gethsemane.
They were undoubtedly terrified and exhausted. They knew their beloved leader was about to be arrested, this man for whom they had abandoned their former lives. The body can take only so much stress and dread before it just shuts down.
I didn't have any excuse. I was up late the night before watching a Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman rerun.
This morning, I was at the chapel again, intent on making up for my last, lame visit.
First, I read silently from my prayer guide...
The first section covers the glorious titles that Christ holds. Every time I read them, specific roles speak to me. Today, these were the ones....
He is "...My PRINCE of PEACE...
My HIDING PLACE...
My SURE FOUNDATION...
My HEALING and WHOLENESS..."
I read those words again...they all evoke a sense of safety and and calm. Such a nurturing and pacifying God we have, I thought.
Then I began to cry. Not sob or anything. Tears simply welled, as they sometimes do in the chapel. It's a sacred moment - a tender realization of God's love for me and how big He is and how small I am. And how anything I bring into the chapel will be passed though the screen of grace before I leave.
It's the reason I go.
I often experience the gift of tears in the adoration chapel, but before last week, I had never fallen asleep. I felt guilty about that, and I wanted to redeem myself. Today, I was going to pray more intently and journal at length.
But before I even got to that...I experienced the same love and comfort that I always receive in the chapel.
It was like God said, "Hey kid, you're home here. If you need a nap, take it. We'll catch up eventually."
I thought of my now adult children when they would come home from college for a semester/summer break. After the initial dumping of laundry and enjoying a few cookies, they'd put on a movie...and fall asleep.
Whatever the semester had been for them, being home would temporarily deliver them of some pressure and provide a place to hide out for a while.
I would see them sacked out in the Lazy-boy, these tall, emerging adults under a homemade quilt, and I would smile.
I believe God feels the same way about us. He loves that we show up at all, to talk or pray or weep...or sleep. He's happy to provide a place of rest and peace and safety. It's one of the best things He does.
It's the ultimate homecoming.
Only better, because you don't have to help with the dishes.