Wednesday, November 9, 2016
DNA, Poetry and The Living Prayer of my Life
The Living Prayer of my Life
“If what I say resonates with you, it is merely because we are both branches of the same tree."- WB Yeats
I recently shared at a Retreat about my husband, Bill, sending off for a DNA test for me. It ended up very funny when we found out the results. I had no idea because I lost track of my family history after my parents divorced, that I’m very much a mixed breed of sorts.
I laugh every time I think about it and they also show that my blog name, “A Sister Among You” was well-named. Or I can pretty much sing the song, “I’m Every Woman” and maybe make up some lyrics of my own. I could very well be related to many of you or all of you. My husband thought it was hilarious when the next time I went to the doctor, I checked off multiple boxes concerning heritage.
Every time I look into a mirror now, I see a Native American woman. Bill said “Well, there are some cute little Indians” but I told him “I see Geronimo!” Maybe I’ve been on the war path too long. Or perhaps I’ve always identified with Native Americans because I’ve felt like I’m walking the Trail of Tears many days. For those who are unfamiliar with the Trail of Tears, it was a series of forced removals of Native American nations from their ancestral homelands in the Southeastern United States to an area west of the Mississippi River that had been designated as Native Territory. I definitely feel Cherokee roots at times, as well as mainly European and even some African. I remember crying through nearly the whole Roots mini-series and now I realize why. I’m every woman, mother and sister.
I think my life and prayers and even the DNA in my body is communal. I am all that has been poured into me by my mentors, loved ones, family members and friends. My mothers in the Lord, sisters in the Lord, those who have loved me and even those who have not, have helped me become the woman I am now.
I consider all that I’ve read, all preaching, prophetic words and prayers that have been spoken into my life have made me into this mixed bag of genes. Anne Sexton talks about “a communal poem being written by all the poets alive.” It is said that there was communal weaving among the Native Americans. If I’ve known you, then I consider you have influenced me. You have become the poetry of my life, helping me to write my life’s poem.
I’m at the part of my life where I want to be a song and poetry unto the Lord, even better than that, I want to be a living prayer unto Him.
"Father Almighty, we pray, we offer prayers to you for those whose lives are linked to ours," is the beginning of an awesome chapter from Living Prayer by Robert Benson. He also wrote, "They are our friends and brothers and sisters and daughter and sons and loved ones. They are our enemies sometimes too, those with whom we are in conflict. ‘Pray even for those who curse you,’ the teacher said, and I expect that would apply as well to those who bug the living daylights out of you. But it is hard to truly hate those for whom you truly pray. Those with whom you have a hard time have been given to you just as surely as those with whom you are at peace....” he ended this segment with "We entrust all who are dear to us to Your never-failing love and care, for this life and the life to come, knowing that You will do for them far more than we can desire or pray for."
“Kyrie, elesion; Christe, eleison. Lord, have mercy; Christ have mercy,” we pray. For we must, we simply must. It is all that we who walk together in the dark can do.” Robert Benson*
Lord, have mercy, Christ have mercy upon my life and bring about Your destiny for me and those who’ve touched my life. Make me Your living prayer and a song so sweet, it will bring joy to your heart. Wrap us in your Father arms, knowing You gave us the perfect DNA for Your purposes. Lord, have mercy, Christ have mercy and come quickly, Lord Jesus we pray.
*Robert Benson from Living Prayer
Journaling about Robert Benson after reading his take on his own journaling in Living Prayer. LOL!
Robert Benson. The name evokes sighs of contentment from this group of senior citizen women, with one much younger blonde in the group. His words! His books! We all sigh again. I included a quote from Living Prayer in a blog to take to Word Weavers Volusia Group critique and my reader unconsciously called his name Robbie every time she read it. Like he is our Robbie.
Last week my friend gave me his newest book and we quickly opened it and just reading all the names of his books made us, two sometimes called introvert women, SMILE. I feel nearly like a fallen women writing this or maybe even unfaithful to Bill, but surely belonging to Robert Benson’s fan club can’t be a sin, can it?
When we heard him speak at the writer’s conference, we agree with many of his thoughts and feelings, and come away with a sense of peace. Oh the peace of seeking tranquility and a respite from the noise of the world. Peace to pray. Peace to perhaps find myself a prayer rug that also serves as a family picnic cloth, or even use it to serve hospitality at our Word Weaver meeting. He makes you want to find a monastery, go on a retreat or just read more books.
Robert Benson. Sigh.
Well it’s time to edit my blog that I brought to Word Weavers and I’m grateful that I will consider Robert Benson a part of the DNA of my life.
Trail of Tears as sung by John Denver:
Johnny Cash: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qW8rIM2lNN8
Ride This Train https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyXWgw1z4zE