Last year when I took our eleven-year-old cat Lucy to the vet for a check-up, he said, "She's now considered a senior cat, requiring visits every six months instead of annually.
I replied, "She's a senior cat living with two seniors."
Lucy follows me wherever I go. When I sit to pray in the morning, Lucy is on my lap. When I check my email or write on the computer a calico fur ball nestles in the middle of my crossed legs.
Lucy doesn't sit with me the whole time I write or pray - just for the amount of time she deems necessary to receive comfort and love our attachment provides. Then she walks to the small box next to my desk curls into every corner to take a nap.
The ebb and flow of Lucy's posture on my lap reminds me of the fluid nature of our walk with God.
"We go away" as Jesus commands and models, "being still with God" before returning to everyday life. We find the rhythm of seeking God, settling and sitting in God's presence, inhaling what God brings to our hearts, then taking with us the fullness of our rest in God into our daily encounters and experiences.
At times, we feel the need to curl in Jesus' lap when our needs are so great, we need deep intimacy with God to find comfort. God receives us and welcomes by saying,
"Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)
Other times we sit next to God, discussing a concern, sharing a joy or absorbing the presence of one who provides all.
Last summer, Mike and I made our annual visit to the Chautauqua Institute in western New York. We're always excited to return to a community where we experience renewal and refreshment by spending time with others, hearing concerts, participating in worship, and walking by the lake.
I decided to rent a kayak for an hour, a first time experience. I donned a life jacket, positioned myself in the middle, and pushed away from the dock. Paddling parallel to the shore, I gained a new perspective on the lake I'd visited many years. I noted the curves and indentations the water carved into the dirt along the shore like a sculptor would etch at a piece of marble for an extended period.
Tossed by waves generated by motorboats pulling skiers or just cruising along kept me alert navigating my paddles so I wouldn't tip over. Eventually, I came to a calm place in the lake where I could sit, surrounded by water, realizing the meditative place I'd reached by passing through rough waters and a challenging shoreline.
Sitting in a kayak in the middle of a huge lake made me remember Lucy, curled in my lap, resting long enough for whatever she needed. Here I was "curled in God's lap in a kayak," resting on waters where I felt God's presence. I, sat, many minutes.
I only rented the kayak for an hour since it was my first time and I was unsure what to do. This summer when we return, I will request two hours. I'll take my camera, a pencil and paper so I can record any poems or thoughts that might surface.
Prayer: God, inspire and guide us to ways to develop a rhythm or pattern or coming to you and settling in your presence, receiving what you want to give us, allowing time for your gifts to settle deeply within our hears, so we can return alive in the fullness of life with others and with you. Amen.