When Prayer Looks Like Soup

Sitting beside my squirrelly seven year old, I helped him sound out long-vowel words and watched the clock, the seconds flying past. At eight-thirty in the morning, I was at the kitchen sink, swirling yesterday’s coffee grounds out of the French press and into my compost bucket. Time spun and circled down the garbage disposal with the last of the fine coffee crumbs afterwards.

Photo Credit: Flikr User Frinthy, Creative Commons cc license

At nine, I called, leaving a message for her, stammering and saying in soft words that I was thinking about her and praying. The line rang long before the machine picked up. Ominous words had hung in the air all weekend, and this morning’s appointment would bring answers.

Prayer looked like silent vigil at the sink, poured and slurped freshly-made coffee at the table, and wrangling in a first grader’s attention again and again.

“Okay, with the long vowel o, what comes at the end of this word?” I’m waiting for him to draw a silent e, this quiet letter at the end of all his words today. The silent vowel sits quietly at the termination of each noun, directing, changing the sounds, and creating new words from the shy short vowel words who hem and haw and twist toes bare-naked in words surrounded by consonants.

Daniel draws graphite pencil down and around, and I sip more coffee, trying to trace out patience across my life too.

I check email throughout the morning and afternoon, awaiting word and praying for her and her family. Medical diagnoses can change so much, huh?

My parents due in an hour, I slip outside, down the deck steps, to a raised garden bed in the backyard. Surrounded by gaunt bony tomato plants from last year, shriveled and awaiting tomorrow’s garden clean-out, I kneel next to the three surprises this spring. Three kale plants survived a Midwestern winter and curl purple leaves to the sky. I slice scissors across emerald and violet stems and then retrieve the fallen leaves from sandy soil.

Upstairs I submerge the vivid kale leaves in a chipped blue porcelain pot and run cold water high. Brown russet potatoes feel dense, earthy in my hands. I wash, rub them, and slide my green-handled knife deep into them. Drawing long the blade, lifting, slicing, repeating, I trace lines across them and into the white plastic cutting board.

Resting in God’s presence and speaking out my love for him looks like this today, I’ve decided.  Trusting in his ability to bring beauty from crumbling soil, from gouged purple life, and from gashed earthy spheres, I rip apart raw Italian sausage, and pour in newly-chopped onions.

The aroma of browning sausage and onions seeps fragrant into me. Shaking out dried oregano, I watch the green flecks speckle into the jumbled meat and onions. Red pepper flakes tumble crimson. Stirring with my brown wooden spoon, I swirl silent praise and prayer, inhaling deep into this Pneuma Holy Spirit who describes himself like Breath.

I pour out the water that had immersed the kale. Droplets radiate light and life off purple-green stems and curling leaves.

I still don’t know what news my friend has received, and I whisper her name to our God. Silent prayer and praising rises like steam from my simmering soup, an incense of sausage, kale and potato soup rising up before our Artist God, who is Enough. 

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  1. Linda Stoll on May 24, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    Just beautiful, Jennifer.

    He's in our every daily moment. What a grace.

  2. Unknown on May 25, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    Praying for your friend. A caring heart is the reflection of our Savior.

  3. Valerie Sisco on May 26, 2016 at 2:32 am

    Hi Jennifer,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog today! I can relate to the tension you write about in waiting to hear news from a friend in the midst of your busy day filled with normal routine. But God is faithful to stand with us in all situations and for that I'm so grateful!

  4. a joyful noise on May 26, 2016 at 8:18 am

    It is difficult the waiting – – and not knowing. God is good regardless of the outcome and his love surrounds us no matter how the news turns. We received good news this week about an uncomfortable procedure test my husband had to take. God is gracious and often heals before we ask.

    I too love the stories of Daniel – – and trust your Daniel will learn to pronounce his words with distinction. 🙂 Thank you for your sweet comments on my recent post.

  5. Ifeoma Samuel on May 26, 2016 at 9:24 am

    It is well. Jennifer I pray you hear a good news.

    Nice to visit you here…followed you from some fave friends Aunt Hazel and Linda Stoll.

    God bless

  6. Lisa notes... on May 27, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Yes! "Resting in God's presence and speaking out my love for him looks like this today, I've decided." The way we enjoy his presence can and will look different from day to day. Your awareness of how that looks is beautiful, Jennifer.

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