Ash and Starlight

Connecting with God, each other, and ourselves in the broken and beautiful

Friday Prayer, February 24, 2017

 

susanne-photo-19

Photo by Susanne Moorman Rowe

Henri Nouwen reminds me we have the choice between living in the house of fear or the house of love (and 1 John says, “perfect love casts out all fear” – they don’t co-exist). I’ve been thinking lately about how confining and threatening it feels to live in fear when it comes to how we see others’ lives – particularly the good, the success, the growth they experience. I know personally that jealousy and envy have robbed me of so much joy. Comparison is a quiet, subtle thief, and it can be such a relentless companion. It slips in with opinions, especially when we feel weak and broken. We leave no space or room for this voice when we find deep security in who we are as God’s children. We are unique, and needed, and our lives are pieces of beautiful work. The world is not a zero-sum game.

***

Loving God,

You’ve created a universe of infinite blessing.

You never stop creating good.

The reserves are endless.

So why have I made such a small house for my heart?

With windows tinted by jealousy and envy?

 

I look out and see the gifts in other’s lives,

and I am angry.

It’s shameful.

And embarrassing.

But this is the view from my small house whose walls

are envy and whose foundation is fear – if they have this,

I won’t, or can’t, or will have less.

 

With your hands around mine, I hold the lie at a further distance and observe it for what it is, letting it teach me the road my heart has yet to travel,

the heart-house needing construction.

 

With patience, complete non-judgment, and relentlessly gentle love,

you never stop telling me, God,

of the freedom there is in celebration, rather than competition.

Of the ever-expanding joy!

With you, blessing has no limit.

My cup runneth over…

 

Outside the window, I see the jealousy, envy, insecurity, feeling threatened –

it turns to a dissipating mist,

and is swallowed by the rumbling storm of your voice.

You invite me outside into a strong, cleansing rain

that brings my soul to rebirth.

 

Today I will give thanks for the goodness I witness in others’ lives,

believing it all illumines a gracious God

and universe that still has goodness at its core.

 

I will mark with joy the flourishing I see.

 

With a huge exhale of relief and anticipation

I will step through the threshold of my

new house.

 

Amen.

 

* Italicized reference to Psalm 23

6 Comments

  1. Arianne, thank you for sharing your growth pangs honestly, courageously, humbly. We’re all on the journey.
    Blessings, Marti O

    • Thank you so much, Marti! What a comfort and boost it is to my heart to have people like you walking with me – side by side….blessings to you!!

  2. So wise and insightful, as always friend. Thank you for this timely reminder. I’ve been trying to celebrate others’ joys instead of letting that green jealousy creep out. This is one I’ll have to reread to help keep me on track. ✌🏻❤️

    • I feel like you are such a powerful witness, Betsy, of how to celebrate, lift up, and rejoice over others. You’ve taught me much about this. Thank you for your beautiful life.

  3. Arianne, I hope your new house, both the physical Wilmette one, and that sturdy, honest spiritual one, will bring you joy. Your Friday prayers provide us with such inspiring, poetic rebirth of the soul. I’m grateful to have met you before you left town, and look forward to meeting you again when we visit our Evanstonians. That house of love instead of a house of fear is devoutly to be
    researched. Gratefully,
    Gerri

    • Thank you so much, Gerri, for your continual encouragement and for sharing in this life journey so deeply! Praying you feel those sturdy walls of Love’s house around you today, my friend!!

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