We have a funeral to attend this afternoon for our dear friend Ronnie who passed away suddenly a couple of weeks ago. Up until now, his death has felt surreal. Almost like he is just in hospital or away, which has happened before. I know that with the service today with his family, and the one we have next week here in Parkdale, will allow for a certain type of closure to happen.
This morning, I found myself feeling tender. It started off as feeling emotional as I watched Charlotte eat her breakfast slowly and watch her special TV show as a treat while she woke up. Then it was in my chest as I felt anxious about what the day would bring. Finally on the subway I realized it was probably just a processing of this grief, and all of the tenderness I hold about many handfuls of my friends who have passed away over the years. Never in my life would I have imagined that my work and this relationship building would involve so much loss. Now it has become normal.
I sat on the subway in silence, trying to breath slowly in and out. Normally if I don’t listen to music, I just let my thoughts wander. Today I thought I would try to pray and seek something that would help me feel more prepared for the day. I breathed in. “Oh, Lord…” I breathed out. I breathed in again. This happened for a couple of minutes. I thought, “You know… right?” And I could feel a peace in me that He did in fact know, even though I had not spoken anything aloud.
This reminded me of something I had seen online recently – it was a post on instagram. I will link it below. It was written by a woman named KJ Ramsey. The post says, “Your groans are prayers.” In it she goes on to write “Ugh can be a prayer. Your groans do not diminish your glory. Your pain does not silence your prayer. When you name your groans prayers, you remember your name is Beloved. Even your sighs are sacred.” She then quoted Romans 8:28:
“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting,
God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along.
If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter.
He does our praying in and for us,
making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.
He knows us far better than we know ourselves…”
Working at The Dale and learning more about God has taught me a lot about prayer. I used to have a very one dimensional view of what prayer should be. Now I am learning that prayer can sound so different for anyone and any situation. They can be guided, pre-written, spoken aloud, or done in silence. And I am feeling comforted today to reflect on the idea that they can be sighs or groans, and in your aching He still knows and is present. This is such a comforting gift.
As I sat in my silent prayer, I decided to listen to some music and turned on some worship music that my friend Joanna had shared with me. There is a band called The Porter’s Gate who has an album called Lament Songs. I turned on a song called How Long? and found comfort in the lyrics. If you’re feeling tender today too, I hope you can find comfort in this worship.
Peace to you this week. The world is hurting and tender. It is okay to not know what to say. It is okay to let some of that burden go. It is okay to feel sadness and pain. It is okay to look for hope. I pray today that you may sigh and breathe out knowing that our God is one that hears and knows, even in the groaning. Amen.
I am a community worker at The Dale Ministries in Parkdale. In order to do this work, I must fundraise my own salary. This is only possible through financial gifts from supporters like you. You can visit https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/the-dale-ministries/ to give to my work here, indicating that the donation is for me. With much thanks!