Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 1/28

I left the Stop and Shop in Wayland 
and was on the way back to my car
when I saw her...

Well, I didn't actually "see" her, Lord:
I caught just a glimpse of her 
as she got out of her car and I passed by
but in that glimpse I saw a lot
- or at least I wondered about what I saw...

In no more than a second or two 
our paths had crossed,
    she going her way and I going mine
- just enough time for me to wonder:
    was she on the verge of tears,
        holding back a river of pain,
    or was she sitting in her car,
        wiping tears away, blotting dry  
        moist trails of secret sadness?
I don't know, Lord, which it was.
I might be entirely mistaken.
Perhaps she was tired,
    wearied by last week's work,
her eyes red from a sleepless night
    of worry and restless children...

I'm not sure of what I glimpsed
    when this sister's path crossed mine
but I know I learned a lesson
    I pray I won't forget...

Who knows when or why, Lord,
  a flowing stream of grief or sorrow 
overflows the banks of guarded hearts,
    spilling out what's hidden deep inside?

Or could it be a flood of tears held back,
    shored up by grit and grind,
dammed by self-protection 
    though straining to pour forth?
Help me not forget, Lord,
    the river coursing through us all
that weeps and waits and weaves its way
    with healing in our hearts...


Writing today's prayer put me in mind of a piece
I wrote for this blog back in 2008:

A Solitary Tear

do you feel the tear I see
move slowly down a crevice
worn by grief
upon your cheek

now it stops,
too weary to move on,
one sorrowed drop
welled up from springs 
of empty ache

a solitary tear
slowed, stalled
no place to go,
no hand to wipe away

the dew that slowly seeps
from deep inside
where pain pools
and sadness freely

spills your hidden secret:
a parched heart's thirst
for just a sip of love 
now lost
-Austin Fleming




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