2 min read

Excerpt from Writing to Wake the Soul

by Karen Hering 

Sitting in a waiting room one day while her child was undergoing outpatient surgery, my sister Susan endured the wait by writing me a letter. It was a time she would have prayed, she explained, but that wasn’t something she was accustomed to doing. So she wrote a letter instead, describing her feelings, naming her fears and hopes, seeking connection, crossing that vast stretch of waiting in which the minutes can drag on like hours. When the procedure was over, her child’s surgery a success, and her fears allayed, she signed off. The next day, she mailed the letter; but as I later read it, it seemed to be addressed well beyond me, sending its story out into the wind, releasing its hopes like a prayer wheel still in motion.

Prayer is our reaching out, across the wide terrain of events beyond our control and sometimes even beyond the circumference of our questions. It draws us to the rim of a wider circle, making room, as the poet Jeanne Lohmann says, for all that is too big, too difficult, or too unknown for us to hold alone.

Prayer is
circumference
we may not
reach around,
space for all we cannot hold,
the rim of Love toward which we lean.

In Your Own Words

Choose someone to write a letter or an email to about a concern, a dream, a hope, or a joy of yours. It can be addressed to a person real or fictional, contemporary or historical, someone you know or don’t know; it can be addressed to God or the divine by any name, or yourself now or in another time; you might write to your deceased loved one or your child not yet conceived or not yet born. When you’ve chosen someone, write a letter to that person sharing something present in your heart right now, something that feels big, solid, or significant. Cut right to the chase and speak your truth as you write. Tell the person what you feel. Tell how it is for you in your life now.

Begin with the words below:
Dear _______,
Here I am...

When you finish your letter, hold it in your lap or on the table in front of you. Close your eyes or lift your gaze. Imagine a light wind blowing across the page before you, lifting your words and carrying them away. Notice the touch of blessed air on your skin. Take three slow breaths, in and out, and if the word feels right, end by saying Amen.


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