or To Sit in Silence for 20 minutes in centering prayer amidst your brokenness and your wholeness and your beauty and your shame and returning to your sacred word like you are supposed to do and finding peace and then losing it again and finding it again and that is the whole of the work


Let’s say you’ve been on a boat
In the middle of the ocean
No sounds just
The waves crashing against the boards

And lets say you’ve walked the plank and it is awfully long and
maybe I’m
teetering

Just to see if you could keep
Your
balance
Just to see if you could conquer
The fear
And the chaos

And let’s say you’ve walked into the
Great white snow
Of Minnesota in the forest where the trees grow oh so tall and never stop
never stop

And the snow is blinding and the snow
Is blindingly deep

Deaf
En
Ing


Nothing but white space

in its emptiness.

And let’s say — Just because —
That you’ve walked on
The beach
The waves crashing against the
Shore
Back and forth
Back and forth and back again
Endless.
World without end.

Suddenly, barefooted,
You’ve walked right on top of a serrated shell
And your foot starts to bleed
And your brain
Registers
The pain and the waves crash
menacing now
The shore
Like always but now your foot
And your brain are
On fire, like the silent stars in their silent sky in the silent night are on fire,
fire I say.

Like that time you were
7
And in the boy scouts and you got lost
And you thought
I’ll be lost
Forever and ever. World without end.

And you return to your
Sacred
Word
But your foot is bleeding as you walk the plank so so long and the trees are so thick and the silence
is so dense and

you return to your sacred word

Peace

And then just like that
You are on a boat in the middle of the ocean

And all is peace and all
is blank
The waves crashing
Against the boards of the boat
And the plank
and everything is empty.
and everything
is
peace

And then…

This is what centering prayer is like. Sometimes.

Roger Butts, Lent, 2022