Prayers in the Pendulum

I’m late in posting an entry today– it’s been a day of swinging in the pendulum.  Not in a personal sense, but in praying for friends and family.

We all have “pendulum” days (or weeks, or even hours)– times where we are carried, pushed, swung, or banged about by life’s circumstances.  Moments where time stands still– sometimes in astonishing joy, and sometimes in soul–stomping grief.  Then comes the rush of being pulled by forces beyond our control– up, and down, across, and through the arc.  I’ve been hearing from friends all day, sharing those moments, and asking for prayer.  In the space of an hour, I’ve prayed for those who have just lost loved ones– a mother, a sister, a son– and those who are celebrating– an engagement, a birthday, a new home.  I’ve prayed for those whose lives are in the balance– in ICUs and in the womb.  Cancer, anniversaries, new puppies, pneumonia, a new job, a vacation, a car accident…

When we pray for others, we share those joys and heartaches– together, we swing through the arc of tragedy and triumph, even if we don’t all feel the full impact.  We become like the balls on the pendulum swing; absorbing and sharing laughter and tears not fully our own. But by doing so, we provide both energy and equilibrium.  Shared joys are multiplied; shared pain becomes bearable.  Prayer breaks through the isolation or the intensity of the moment, and keeps us grounded, or keeps us from shattering.   It reminds us that even in these defining and refining moments, life is not static.  And the momentum pulses through us in our connectedness.

Yet prayer goes one step further– it brings triumph and tragedy to the God who is above, beyond, around, and amidst the circumstances, the chaos, and the emotional highs and lows.  Our voices, raised together in laughter or grief, exasperation or anticipation, ascend to the one who came and lived and laughed and cried among us– to Jesus, whose arms are fully extended to embrace us wherever we are on the pendulum.

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