Sunday, February 13, 2011

To Avoid Falling

We meet every Monday evening for centering and prayer with a group of older people. Rickey and I are the youngest members of the group at 58 and 61 respectively. Our liturgy for the evening has evolved to include three parts: centering for 20 minutes, reading and discussing short passages from Thomas Keating's "greatest hits" (we use excerpts from The Daily Reader), and intercessory prayer. Last week our intercessory list included the names of five elderly people who had fallen and hurt themselves. Just as we were wrapping things up, one of our members, a woman who is a physical therapist stopped us. She pulled back the coffee table and said, "I'm going to show you an ankle strengthening exercise which will help you prevent falls." We all obeyed, laughing and enjoying the simple exercises. Our prayer partner directed us to do these short exercises regularly for good results. There are no guarantees we won't fall, of course, but there is a good chance we'll be in better shape to avoid falling.

It seems to me that the practical direction for strengthening ankles was a pretty good example of how the prayer works. We center regularly, giving ourselves to God’s presence and action in our inmost being. That's the strengthening part. And I like that the ankle results, like prayer results, are mostly invisible. You can tell you are making progress because you aren’t falling as often. Grace in action--amazing!
--Anna

5 comments:

Paul Corrigan said...

"There are no guarantees we won't fall, of course, but there is a good chance we'll be in better shape to avoid falling."

Amen.

What a beautiful thing you do, meeting with these people, and what a beautiful metaphor as well.

Thanks.

living stones said...

Anna, thank you for sharing this practical, wise insight and reflection. I love these words especially: "We center regularly, giving ourselves to God’s presence and action in our inmost being. That's the strengthening part. And I like that the ankle results, like prayer results, are mostly invisible. You can tell you are making progress because you aren’t falling as often." I'm so grateful we share this kind of spirituality together!
--Rickey

Daniel said...

Anna, what a beautiful image of the transformative work of prayer! Thanks for sharing!

Mark Wills said...

I think I can work this into a future sermon! Thanks for sharing.

John Orzechowski said...

Anna, I can only reiterate what everyone else has said: thank you for sharing this beautiful metaphor.

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