I'd been wondering whether I should just surrender, slide down into the grief and let it have its due. Or whether it was better to keep fending just a little longer.
I got to worship early and slid into my seat, but I didn't find it so easy to slide into worship. It seemed to me that I'd been treating worship lightly, just skimming the surface. I thirsted for something deeper, something more connected, something that would fill me and feed me and give me strength for what is to come.
I made some false starts, got distracted a few times, started over.
I have my own Lord's Prayer ritual that often works to sink me into worship. First comes gratitude for all that is of worth in my life (not just the things that I like, but also the challenges and griefs that teach me and take me deeper). Next comes my regrets for the mistakes I've made recently (Father, forgive me...). Then I set my troubles and burdens and worries before God.
After I've done those bits of spiritual housekeeping, I feel ready to open to worship. To open to whatever God has for me that day.
This last First Day, however, I was so snowed in that all I could do was to lay my griefs before God.
I'm sorry, I said, I have to start from here today. All I have to set before you is my burdens.
I heard a deep chuckle.
I will take your burdens, your light, insignificant burdens, if you will take on mine.
I thought that was absurd, but was curious to see what would happen if I accepted.
Okay, I said, I'll try.
Suddenly, I was swept up into a great lightness and airiness. It was as though God was a great hawk flying through the heavens and I was on his back, clinging to his feathers. It was wonderful and terrifying and very very funny.
A half an hour later, I wondered irreverently if I was some sort of parasite, if God might try to pry me loose from his feathers with a great hooked beak.