This morning as I was helping Charlie get dressed for school, the brightly colored rosary hanging on his closet door caught my eye. It was a gift at his baptism from my professor and friend, who is now in hospital. Mo. Mitties had a knack for showing up at Holy Spirit events–so many ordinations (often as a presenter or preacher), installations and baptisms. She showed up at Ground Zero as a chaplain to first responders when she was supposed to be on sabbatical. The woman shows up.
And she showed up this morning in Charlie’s room, even from ICU.
Jay and I pray with Charlie every night before bed, and have since he was born. As soon as we start praying, he crawls off our lap and puts his head down to sleep. It has become his signal that peace has come and it’s time to rest. Because Jay usually does bedtime, I don’t get to pray with Charlie as often.
I realized the other day that we had not been praying at meals–ever. The start of supper is such a fluid thing now, with no real pause to signal prayer. Sometimes Charlie starts eating before us, sometimes one of us is calming the Lucy while the others eat, and in the midst of the chaos we don’t even notice that we’ve forgotten to ask God’s blessing.
So we’ve started this week, remembering only ever-other-day, trying to re-create a meaningful and formational habit. Jay prays the Catholic prayer he was taught as a child, I’ve introduced “Johnny Appleseed” (which has to be sung several times at Charlie’s request), and I imagine Charlie will come up with his own brand of blessing as his vocabulary increases.
Sitting there with the rosary this morning, I tried to *explain* prayer for the first time. We talked about how the different colored and shaped beads can remind us of things to talk to God about. We talked about how the cross reminds us of Jesus’ love for us. We prayed for our friend Mitties, that she would know comfort and that God would make her whole. And then we walked to school thinking of more people to pray for and pointing at things we thank God for.
The glory in all this is how God is teaching me to pray in new ways. There’s a different kind of sacredness I am discovering in praying with my child who is beginning to understand conversation more and more, because of course prayer is conversation. I feel as if I’m entering a new season of spiritual formation as I grow alongside Charlie.
Lord, teach us to pray.