Discombobulated—it’s a great word, isn’t it!? And it captures how I’ve been feeling ever since the onset of this pandemic. I don’t know if it’s officially an onamonapia—a word that sounds like it's meaning--but it sure "sounds" like it to me.
I was noticing my new “companion” this morning as I settled into my chair, drinking coffee and staring out the window at the early morning light. It’s a troubling sensation and often makes it difficult to pray, to work, to think productively. To be present to what exists and is real.
This morning, as I noticed feeling discombobulated, a verse from the Psalms came to mind. “When anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul” (Psalm 94: 19, NASB). I must have memorized it a long time ago because the translation isn’t one I typically read now.
As I attuned to this rumble of anxious feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, I reflected on what this verse suggests. I asked myself, “Where do I turn for comfort?” “What have I noticed that brings me consolation?”
While it would be easy enough to say that ice cream with hot fudge sauce or a glass of red wine is where I turn, in truth, their consolation is short-lived. The place I know from experience to turn to is prayer. Prayer is and has been, for a very long time, a genuine place of comfort and solace.
And when I say prayer, I’m thinking about two kinds of prayer. The first is conversational prayer. Just telling God what’s going on and how I’m doing right now. As I do, it’s not unusual, though not always the case, to sense God bearing witness to my words, holding space for me to talk about what I need to talk about. God is a good listener, you know.
The other kind of prayer that leads me into quiet waters and restores my soul is contemplative prayer. It’s wordless prayer, the prayer of resting in God as I abide in the Presence of Perfect Love. Most mornings I practice twenty minutes of this kind of wordless, adoring prayer, where my sole intention is to press into God and open to Love.
I don’t think prayer is magic. Some mornings I don’t experience consolation and delight. Many times I leave my prayer time and still feel somewhat discombobulated. Yet I know that this place of comfort is real and is always available for me to return to. So I keep praying and practicing. And I am hopeful that even when conversational and contemplative prayer don’t seem to eliminate my discombobulation, it’s still a very good thing to turn toward God.
If you’re feeling discombobulated and/or curious about contemplative prayer, here are two book titles that have been helpful for me: Into the Silent Land by Martin Laird and Mindful Silence by Phileena Heuertz
And, as a reminder, we’d love for you to join us tomorrow/Thursday at 9 pm (EDT) for prayer! “Light a Candle” virtual prayer vigil happens each Thursday evening. Here’s the link: https://zoom.us/j/779283159