Monday, August 27, 2007

how do i pray?

i take these kinds of questions seriously and do my best to answer them honestly when asked. of course last time things kind of hit the fan. yet what a wonderful catalyst for change it was. hopefully this can be that again. ever since i was tapped for this synchroblog, i have been trying to put words to my experience. to try and explain how it is that i pray. i apologize if this goes astray or doesn't fully make sense, but i often have difficulty trying to put tangible and finite things like words together with intangible and infinite experiences. bear with me.



5 years ago my wife erin and i were blessed with our first child. a boy named zaavan (ZAY-ven). zaavan has tremendously severe cerebral palsey. he does not walk. he does not talk. he doesn't eat. he doesn't play like most children. in fact, he can't do make his body do much of anything intentional that he would like it to. sometimes, when the mood is right, it can break your heart watching him try, for the 1000th time in a day, to sit up. yet all to no avail...

however broken his physical mind and body, i have been acutely aware of the spirit within. and often i have wondered what it would be like to be a true prisoner inside of your own body with no way to do anything for yourself nor even have conventional means of communicating what your needs are to those assigned to your care at a moment's notice.

one day early on into his life, i noticed a strange bond forming between us that i had not experienced with anyone before. it comes not through any conventional means of communication that we normally use between persons. instead of coming through word or gesture, it came from within. from the most base and intangible part of my being. the "me" that is truly "me." the deep level where we do our thinking without words. the base place where you need only conceive and hold those conceptions together to have meaning. THAT place. most common communication takes place, in my opinion, "one level higher". in that place where we ascribe words to the concepts that form in the furnace of our true coneptual being.

but as i said, this is deeper than the place of words. i had noted this place in myself a few times before in exceptionally deep times of prayer where words became not enough. all it seemed i could do was groan or weep or send a great emotional burst outward to something beyond myself. it has always been those times when i felt "the presence" most.

suddenly, i found that i was meeting with my son in this place. i know this is so because i have experienced it daily since the connection formed. when it is just he and i, often there are no words, but there are emotional transactions. i have felt joy sweep through my being in this place only to see grand smiles and laughter burst out on my son's face. i have seen the clouds come down when things are murky in me. i can't fully describe it, but it is a constant connection that i can feel all the time.

one day, i found that the more i got to know my son in this place, the more control and familiarity i had in this place and the better i could navigate my way around myself and others. not long after the connection formed with my son, i found that this is the level where i find god to be at his most intimate and real. the level of pure being and conception that transcends and descends all conventional man made means of communication. this is the place where the divine speaks most clearly. the language of the heart. i believe it is the true language the divine speaks, but we have forgotten how to speak it.

for me, it is simply an openness and awareness of the pulsating divine at all times. words no longer become necessary. i don't need to have lists or "ask" for anything because my heart is already laid bare. i am fully honest with myself and the trancendant one about my hopes, dreams, fears, and desires, so that i need not get into specifics. i only draw near and swim. sometimes the nearness is overwhleming and i have to ask her to stop because i can't take it anymore. sometimes the overwhelming nearness surprises me in the most unlikely of places. usually under the biggest piles of what most in mainstream society would call garbage.

of course there are the times when i have a specific thing laid on my heart. a friend, family member, coworker, issue, concern, news story, etc. at these times, i simply acknowledge in the "lower level" that i have nothing of my own, and in the "higher level" i use a few words of petition, feeble as they are. i generally feel a burst of energy and power flow through me and out of me at this point, and i receive back an overwhelming sense of peace. then i simply slip back into the "neverending nearness" awaiting the next time my concious mind is called upon for another such petition.



(we have since been blessed with our second child, daughter rowyn. she is now three months. i know that children are very good at learning laguanges, and i also know that syblings usually have a very strong connection. enough so that many times one sybling will "interpret" for another whose communication skills aren't so hot yet. most often the older interpreting for the younger. in this case however, i am curious. when rowyn is at the monosyllabic stage that zaavan is stuck at, if she will be able to understand him and bring that understanding with her into the realm of the english speaking as she gets older... just a father's hopes...)

32 comments:

Erin said...

Jon - that was the most beautiful thing I've read in awhile. It took me twice through to process it all. This connection you have developed with your son is such a blessing. I, too, cannot imagine what it would be like to be unable to communicate. That his father has been given a window into him this way is wonderful.

I love this: "it is simply an openness and awareness of the pulsating divine at all times. words no longer become necessary. i don't need to have lists or "ask" for anything because my heart is already laid bare. i am fully honest with myself and the trancendant one about my hopes, dreams, fears, and desires, so that i need not get into specifics. i only draw near and swim."

So many of us are saying the same things in this synchroblog. Makes me think strange things are afoot. Very cool.

lyn said...

Jon that was so beautiful. I have tears in my eyes. Thanks for sharing.

Che Vachon said...

That was beautiful...and affirming.
Thank you for sharing.

Cindy said...

jon- thank you! you've described a level of communication with god that few reach and even fewer have been able to describe. wow.

paul said...

thank you Jon, it reminds me of the part of the bible that talks about deep calling out to deep, your shared honest humanity of father and son bonding in that place of naked depth.

Barb said...

and somehow this is what i was trying to say.

thanks

Tessa said...

that touched me, i miss being in that place.

thank you

jON said...

hey, everyone. thanks for stopping by. i had thought my perspective might be a little weird, but instead it seems to be the 'norm' amongst the deconstructed.

for any here who do not know, this post was part of a "synchroblog" i was invited to participate in. a "synchroblog" is several people posting about the same topic on the same day.

the main page with links to all synchro-bloggers can be found here @ decompressing faith.

Patti Blount said...

What beautiful red hair, eyes, and smile your son has! The communication you speak of is so true. I believe that as I am growing in union with Jesus, our communion is getting to be like that also. At first I was worried about not being able to pray,but now I am seeing that it's a good thing. One time a boy I knew said, "I would like to have someone who would stay silent if I decided to drive somewhere, without asking alot of questions and just trust me." Maybe that's how God feels when He wants to take us places. Also, kind of along this same vein: We went to India this past year, and visited many Christian Indians whose English was broken and it was so beautiful. The love that poured out of them to us brought so much nourishment and peace. When words are involved it does something to that quiet and serene communication.Could this be possibly what true "communion" is all about?

Dena G said...

What an incredible illustration, Jon. I'm deeply moved. Thank you, my friend.

Cynthia said...

OH my ... incredible, INCREDIBLE portrait of the heart of prayer.
I think Erin has already quoted this but I must as well

"for me, it is simply an openness and awareness of the pulsating divine at all times. words no longer become necessary."

You know, I think God is ready for us to shut up too ... LOL! Maybe our words just get in the way of the communicating.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Valorosa said...

""i only draw near and swim. sometimes the nearness is overwhleming and i have to ask her to stop because i can't take it anymore. sometimes the overwhelming nearness surprises me in the most unlikely of places. usually under the biggest piles of what most in mainstream society would call garbage.""

Amen ...

I'm interested in the female persona here ...

Can you further explain ?

Nate said...

Well Jon,
I am glad you and Zaavan have that connection, I was wondering if my bright eyed nephew had things going on behind those sysw that he just could not communicate. Obviously he does. As for the prayer stuff, wacky as always, just willing to let it all hang out. Somehow, you did describe how it feels when God is with me. Good job. Also, the "she" in use to the divinty, that will cause some stir as always. I would love to be in on that conversation. Much love to the wife and kiddies.
Your brother,
Nate

PS what is this MSN communities thing that pops up when I try to post a comment?

Nate said...

Forget that MEN thing, my daughter signed up for some stupic IM thing.

Dena G said...

Actually, I'm getting the MSN thing, too.

Dena G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nate said...

Yeh, I talked to Lex, she did not sign up for anything. The MSN tag showed up for one other blog, but disapeared after I visited others. It popped up again only when I visited your site.

jON said...

sorry. not quite sure what the msn thing is. is this a recent thing?

jON said...

I'm interested in the female persona here ...

if you explain what you mean by female persona. was it the use of the pronoun "she" in reference to god? or something besides that?

jON said...

now that we all know how to pray so well, i was wondering if you could toss a little of that juice my way? i've had an unexplainable darkness settle down on me that i can't seem to shake.

Dena G said...

Praying for you, Jon.

On the MSN thing...I started getting it either yesterday or the day before--I thought it was something I'd done myself, but it's popped up every time I've gone to a comments page on your site and it's not doing it anywhere else. I signed into my MSN account last night and that seemed to appease the pop-up monster.

Valorosa said...

I'm not getting any pop up monsters ... thankfully :-)

Yes, Jon the use of the word "she" ... just wanted you to expand ... and share ... because there are references to God with female traits ... one of them is wisdom. Just wondering where you were coming from here. It's not often discussed ... there's discomfort surrounding the breasted one and the fact that wisdom is referred to as a woman...

I don't know why darkness has surrounded you .. I only know that Jesus dispels the darkness ... for He is the light of the world ... whatever it is, His lamp is yours to light your way as you walk through it.

much love

jonathan said...

i just know that in my opinion god is neither "he" nor "she". so i find the use of one pronoun to be just as arbitrary as the other. and i also know that i just tend to relate to women better than men so i have recently started referring to god as a she. not because i have any sort of special knowledge or revelation or anything. i'm just comfortable with it.

Valorosa said...

Yea, I hear ya ... I've been using just God lately ... but it is hard with our finite language to express the infinite ... I guess we will just have to do our best ... and I understand the thrill of feeling God's love ... It is almost too much and truly wonder filled. I've always thought that the Holy Spirit is the soft and nurturing personality of God ... teaching guiding convicting and protecting ... :-)

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