There are some good books on parenting. But in the end, one learns to be a parent by parenting. One gathers the inner strength needed to get through the sleepless nights and put up with the spit and poop and other glop by simply putting up with it. Experience is the best professor, in parenting, and in so much in life, including prayer.
I met recently with some colleagues who had both read a good book about prayer. They traded favorite quotes and teachings from the book. Clearly it had made an impression. I’ve read some good books about prayer, too, but I chose not to join in the conversation. I think I’ve learned more about prayer from praying, and from being with people who have more experience than I with it. Chief among them are the brothers of SSJE, an Episcopal monastery in Cambridge. The brothers’ entire life is prayer, ordered around corporate prayer, which they offer to God at set times all through the day. Every day. Day after day. They are a living book on prayer.
During Advent, they invite us to pray with them through an online Advent calendar. Each day, they invite us to meditate on a different word, using an image and a short quotation from one of the brothers’ sermons as a touchstone. Today’s word is “experience.” Check their website here or on Twitter, check #Experience #AdventWord to find out what they and others are hearing the Spirit say about experience.
Thank you to the mother in the mall (I mean “project”), whose name I do not know. Thank you for being an icon through which God’s experience of being patient and caring and still with us was revealed. Thanks for being part of my experience.