Every week at church, I have a routine. I set my things down and say hi to the woman who sits behind me and then I go light a candle. Yesterday was no different except that on my way to the candles, I stopped to say hi to our pastor who was greeting people. But right after he and I finished our greeting, I looked ahead of me and almost stopped my in my tracks: the lit candles were gone.
There was nothing in their place: just an open space. There has been some remodeling of sorts going on so I kept walking the open spot to see if I missed something. Off to the right, in their usual place, were the boxes of candles waiting to be lit. However, there was no place to light them and no rack to place them in.
When I looked to my left to the kneeler where I usually go to say a prayer and the rack of candles with it, that was missing as well. So I kept walking past that spot and out the door to the little room where a statue of Mary stands.
I was a little nervous, worrying, what if Mary wasn't there? Had she been removed, too? But she was there waiting for me. As I kneeled in front of her after I lit my candle and set it in the rack, I thought about what my priest friend Fr. Josh had said to me once: he said that he was working on praying to Mary because she was a patient woman and she could help us work on our patience.
Contrary to the ads in the Sunday newspaper for school supplies and the store aisles filled with folders, paper, and pens, summer isn't over yet. It's only July 24 yet the bombardment has begun because in many places, school will begin in a few weeks.
While many of us still remember the days when we didn't start school until after Labor Day (my family didn't go on vacation until the first week of August), with it starting so early and also having ended late in many places this year because of the extreme winter, it feels as if summer has flown by.
It always feels like summer zips by leaving us looking back wondering why we didn't get to accomplish everything we wanted to do.
A few months ago a friend said to me how we work backward in our lives. While these weren't her exact words, she said that if we spend some time in prayer each day, we are actually practicing prevention in our lives because usually we run to prayer in times of need because we feel like our lives are spinning out of control or something has happened that we fear the outcome.
She suggested spending time in prayer each day, along the lines of thirty minutes. While I do pray each morning while I am run-walking my dogs Chaco and Hattie, I decided to add this extra prayer giving it a different twist. I also wasn't sure I could do it for thirty minutes so I started with fifteen by setting the timer on my cell phone.