Praises in Place of Pain

Photo by Cynthia Guenther Richardson

Have you wondered when cascades of minor or major trials will slow and trickle, perhaps even end? Or how you will weather them, and then what sort of state you will be left in when they do once more pause? My own spring and early summer have provided a few wearisome and worrisome times. I have had my moments of irascibility, feeling emptied, undone. But I have a marvelous tool that guides me in fine or foul weather. I have to admit I rarely forget to avail myself of this small action, as it instills tranquility and even buoyancy amidst loathsome moments. Or calms the chaos. It is not a secret, being familiar to most if not all persons. Yet, despite the fact that it is free of cost and requires little effort, it is not always claimed as the healer and helper it is.

Giving praise. That’s it: finding and engaging in grateful thoughts, feelings, actions. For me, that involves frequent prayer. But it also surfaces as I simply live, morning til night, day in and day out. It is so vital to me to express joy in living, appreciation of diverse experiences and my hopefulness despite hard challenges that when I sat down to write today, the praise just welled up and spilled over. I have to tell you, I could write my praises for many pages; you would be faint with boredom by the end of them, no doubt. But innumerable things astound, uplift and illuminate me. Yes, there will be undeniable sorrows and bitter hurts in life. But to be engaged with the omnipresence of God as you live and breathe is to cross those barriers that would keep us ignorant of great marvels, from the simple to sublime.

The next time you are inundated by tribulation, doubt, anger: stop, unclench your fists, breathe in life-sustaining oxygen and praise one thing. Then discover that deep vein within you, let it open and excavate the everlasting gold of the Spirit within you. Live a transformational life.

Praise the evening as it flies daytime remnants, bright flags.
Praise light and long shadows caressing city and country lands.

Praise rains that gather and fall to bring relief.
Praise arch of foot carrying bones and sinew.
Praise the dancing that lifts the soul higher.
Praise palms with their elegant lines of love and life.

Praise lips that kiss and speak without misgiving or fear.
Praise minor keys as they move near major chords.
Praise mountain’s indigo, water’s turquoise, deep valleys between.
Praise tunnels and bridges that lead me across, through.
Praise the path that curves around beasts and blossoms.
Praise the wings of hummingbirds that hover in trees.
Praise the nectar of flowers that fill glorious bees.
Praise eyes and ears that transfer fresh magic.
Praise the love that shows up at the door.
Praise multi-world dreams that entertain sleep.
Praise minds of children who are flooded with whys.
Praise daughters and son for being daughters and son.
Praise ice cubes and mint herbal tea swirling in the glass.
Praise every simple or complicated bread for filling our hunger.
Praise words that deliberate and shining silence that knows.
Praise this humbling moment that grants me space in time.

Praise the strumming of my heart, full of its strength.
Praise revelations of life, preserved, empowered by the Creator!

(“Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”)