The Bravest Prayer

I put a premium on honesty, and on your time, so this year’s turkey missive will be mercifully bare and brief:

Does your heart feel a bit fuzzy, like it’s swaddled in too much cloud cover, like you can’t bring it close enough to the surface? Like it’s thick, like it’s feeling full-time, so sore for friends whose tables aren’t going to be set quite the way they’d want?

Pull up a chair.

Today, Thanksgiving, I keep thinking about what it even means to be grateful, and how to do that when in some ways you actually aren’t, when you look down into the bag and it seems someone has screwed up your order, when you are so hungry and so sure that you paid for something better.

And you wonder: How in the world you can trick yourself into the emotion of the day, thanks.

So: If you are having a hard time saying this, saying thanks, maybe a smaller goal today would be this: Saying ok.

Not ok, “it’s ok,” because maybe it’s actually not, but “ok,” it’s ok, because it will be ok, somehow, somewhere, someway. Eventually. Eternally. Ok, then, for then, even if it is not exactly ok now.

I keep thinking of Mary, and the walloping news: You are going to bear God’s baby. You are going to have to let go and move over and set your table differently: You are going to have to make room for heaven.

Know it’s all happening a bit out of order. Know you weren’t expecting this, and yet, ready or not, get set, go: You are the humble avenue God wants to use for his greatest gift.

Mary’s prayer, her Magnificat, is one of thanksgiving, and praise, sure, but maybe it is also one of submission, of being small and scooting over; of incredulity, that God still sees the humble, that still he pays on his promises, that still he remembers us.

That he still wants to use us.

That he still notices.

Maybe, as much as it is a bold and warm and effusive thank you, thank you, it is a bowing prayer, too, because bravery always starts that way, with the head hinged.  With an illogical “it’s ok” prayer; not because the details are all ironed flat or the flight is smack on time, but because God says so, and God’s say-so is bankable, backed, secured.

Maybe it can be ok, will be ok, because he is God, because he is working all things on the loom, weaving all impossibility, the hurt and the hopes and the how-comes.

It so it can be ok. Even when it’s not.

And maybe we can start here.