Stream of Consciousness

For the last several months, we've been reading scriptures along with our bedtime story. Since we've read the picture version of the New and Old Testaments a few times over, this week, we graduated to reading from my very picture-less set. Picture-less except for the maps and some photos of important places in the middle. Two nights ago, Cora chose to "read the maps" and their descriptions. As I've been reading through the pages of my scriptures with my girls, I'm reminded of one particular page with note at the top and a passage that's highlighted.

When I was younger, in middle and high school, there was always some variant of the same question: "Who would you most like to be in the scriptures?" There are a lot of people who do amazing things, and being Mormon, we have that extra "blasphemous" book, so we have even more options of people doing amazing things in attempts to please and come closer to God. I think I was in high school when I realized who I most wanted to be. It's in Luke 22:43:
And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
Christ was suffering in Gethsemane, asking God to remove this cup, but still acknowledging his desire for God's will to be done. That's where the angel comes in. I've never forgotten this scriptural hero of mine, and I can say that he/she is still at the top of my list. The angel's appearance is so brief and simple, but at such an important time, and to perform such an important task: provide comfort.

While thinking of this angel tonight, I'm also thinking of a poem from one of my favorite poetry collections: The Awful Rowing Toward God by Anne Sexton. It's called The Wall and can be found in its entirety here (page 473 of 650). I'm thinking of the last stanza:
For all you who are going,
and there are many who are climbing in their pain,
many who will be painted out with black ink
suddenly and before it is time,
for those many I say,
awkwardly, clumsily,
take off your life like trousers,
your shoes, your underwear,
then take off your flesh,
unpick the lock of your bones.
In other words
take off the wall
that separates you from God. 

Sexton believed this life and her very body were standing in the way of being with God. I believe my body and life are a way of growing closer to God. So I often think, "What are my walls?" What are the things that separate me from God? How, in this context, can they ever seem worth it? What stands in the way of me seeing a need and providing comfort? What walls do I put up to avoid being comforted - to avoid God being present in my every day and trusting he will guide my path? From Sexton's Not So. Not So.:
Look to your heart
that flutters in and out like a moth.
God is not indifferent to your need.
You have a thousand prayers
but God has one.


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