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Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Today, I was eating lunch in a little Mediterranean shop. As I bit into my delicious chicken kabob sandwich, I glanced over at a woman sitting with a group of business men. She nodded at me, and I noticed the crucifix, smudged across her forehead in ash.
Suddenly, I felt it -- smudged across my heart in dust.

Friday, February 09, 2007


Ever since we got back from New Zealand my prayer life has been muted. I've felt as though someone has rolled me up in cotton, or placed me in a padded room so that my inner voice, that praying voice, falls dead on the air.

I try to read a Thomas Merton prayer every morning. I like to read one per day, and then move on. For the last four mornings, I haven't been able to get past this simple, two sentence confession:

"My God, I pray better to You by breathing.
I pray better to You by walking than by talking."

Four mornings, I've taken up this book, ready to turn the page, ready to start praying, and every morning I stop dead in my tracks -much like the prayers in the air. I feel that familiar muffled helplessness and my quiet time ends abruptly. I put down the book. I go on with my day - breakfast, groceries, e-mail. I listen to myself breathe. I feel myself walk.

How long will it take me to turn that page? Perhaps as long as it takes me to pray.