Searching for God on the Porch

Sitting on the porch this morning, I watch a fly on the brick patio. With jerky movements, flitting across the pavers toward me — moments later I feel the tickle, landing on my foot and then my hand. What attracts that fly to me?

Then I begin: “Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.”

The opening words of Psalm 103 are my long-practiced morning prayer routine — daily meditation to center me. As I slowly, intentionally breath in and out, the words hopefully draw me close to the presence of God. 

But distractions tease me away. 

I admire the new leaves that have opened overnight on the Red Oak, fresh lime green children against darker green adults. I imagine how proud the the tree trunk must be.

Try the prayer again: “Bless the Lord, O my soul. . .”

Skye, our Mini Schnauzer, suddenly rushes the back fence, barking at a small brown squirrel that dared invade her space. The old game of chase played once again, with squirrel, as ever, faster than pup. Such life in them.

Breath deeply: “. . . and all that is within me. . .”

Birds in the Hackberry next door catch my ear, as I pick out the voices of Grackle and House Finch. Another friend joins the aviary choir, whose melody I can’t place. What generous music.

“. . . bless God’s holy name. . . ,” I pray again.

But distractions are strong this morning. 

Daisies, Coneflowers, Zinnias, and Periwinkles catch my eye. They appear happy in their new clay homes, planted several days ago. The Begonias, though, in bright sun, are struggling to grow roots quickly enough to stave off the Texas heat. Everyone will need a drink soon.

Returning to the morning breath prayer: “Bless the Lord, O my soul. . .”

The breeze blows through the porch, like the breath of the earth, carrying mosquitoes away and cooling my back. The morning wind comes and goes, as my attempts at centering prayer. Both elusive it seems.

Then the idea flits into my distracted mind, that God may already be present:

Solidly standing in the trees

Running around in dog and squirrel

Singing in birdsong

Smiling in bright petals

Blowing through me in morning breeze.

And perhaps (dare it be true?) God even touching me in the common housefly. 

It takes my breath away: the Divine as close as hands and feet all the while.

“And all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.”

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