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Staying in Touch- Midweek Musing 2/28/2024

A pastor friend of mine shared a story about a woman in her congregation. This story was about a mom who was experiencing a completely empty nest for the first time. And she was struggling with it.

This mom was just desperate for simply a word. That was all.

She just wanted to hear from him. The “him” was her youngest of four children and the only boy.

A month earlier she and her husband had taken him to college. He had found a good school. His oldest sister had attended there. The woman admits she missed him more than she thought she would, but she did not want to be one of “those mothers.”

You know the “helicopter” overbearing mom who hovers over their child.

However, the truth was that the two of them had always had this special bond. They loved spending time together and when he was teased about being a “mama’s boy” he proudly claimed the moniker.

And now he was at college, almost eight hours from home, doing exactly what he was supposed to be doing—starting the work of shaping his own identity apart from his mom and dad and sisters.

In her head she knew all that. Deep in her heart, though, she missed him.

So, she let a week go by without reaching out to him.

Then she sent him an email. Brief. “Just checking in. I hope things are going good and you are loving it.” In response she received… nothing.

A week later she put together a care package. His favorite snacks. She even baked the brownies he loved—the ones with chunks of chocolate and caramel swirled across the top. She neatly wrapped them and put them in sealed Tupperware inside a box. She did postal tracking so as to know when it made it to the campus post office. She knew when he received the package.

In response she received… nothing.

Then a few days later she started texting. A gentle message in the morning. “Hope your day is great!”

In response she received… nothing.

Then she started asking questions. “So, I saw the first football game is coming up; are you going?’ And how is studying? Do you have a favorite class yet?”

In response she received… nothing.

She saw a pizza charge on the credit card they had given him. “So, hey. How was the pizza?”

In response she received… nothing.

Finally, nearly two months after they had dropped him off, she texted: “Are you alive? Press one for yes. Press two for no.” Forty-eight hours later, she received a text message ping and a “1.”

This mom told her pastor that she just wanted to hear from him. She just wanted a relationship with him. She just wanted some communication and to stay in touch.

Friends, in essence, that’s what prayer is. God just wants to hear from us. It is not that God needs it, but God wants it. God wants to hear from God’s children. Prayer in its simplest form is this—a conversation with God. It can take many forms. It can be silence. It can be sung. It can be your breath. It can be written. It can be spontaneous. It just needs to be a conversation with God. That’s it.

And God desires that it be regular. God desires that we find a regular time to share with God our thoughts through our prayers.

Now I know we hear the phrase thoughts and prayers a lot. And often it is a heaped up empty phrase. Like when we give thoughts and prayers after a shooting – especially those mass shootings that often grip our nation’s headlines. Many of us want action and legislation and mental health support and school police and the list goes on.

Yet all of this work starts best with thoughts and prayers.

Thoughts and prayers may not sound like much, but our thoughts and prayers shape us and guide our actions.

I recently read the following from the Dalai Lamam who is the leader of Tibetan Buddhism. He said, “Be careful of your thoughts, they become your words. Be careful of your words, they become your actions. Be careful of your actions, they become your habits. Be careful of your habits, they become your character. Be careful of your character, it becomes your destiny.”

In this Lenten season may we renew or deepen our conversation with God, sharing our thoughts through prayer so as to guide our actions, habits, and character.

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Alleluia Amen.

 

Blessings to you all.

 

Clay

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