The Grace of the Fluidity of Prayer

Rest easy, friend.
(Tanya and Dillon at Camp We-Ha-Kee) 
Today is Sunday. Morning routine: woke early, made coffee, took a shower, and settled into my prayer corner, ready to enter into contemplative silence. God had other ideas regarding structure. I was sad, missing my Dominican sister and friend, Tanya Williams, who had herself settled into God’s loving, eternal embrace just a few short days ago. Tanya was so vibrant, so full of life, her personality and integrity so large, that her absence feels both surreal and impossible. So, rather than contemplative silence, I opened my computer to email correspondence to/from Tanya that began in April, 2011 when I was discerning a call to religious life. Tanya quickly became a friend who was willing, even eager, to explore with me matters of faith and justice and ‘later-life’ transformation and call. Her email are full of wisdom and wit and perspectives that challenge me even to this day. They also reflect personal and spiritual growth that I may not have been able to see on a day-to-day basis. It was as if Tanya was sitting with me this morning, engaging me in wonderful conversation and deep sharing. If that is not prayer, I don’t know what is. I know I’m not unique...this prayer, the prayer of her life, is one that Tanya shared with many, many people. The relationships she cultivated were as vast as her spacious heart.
Two lessons learned that I’d like to pass on:
  1. 1)  If you have saved email from people you treasure, read them. You’re likely in for a treat;
  2. 2)  Prayer is conversation with God. Often it is an expression of gratitude for gifts God has freely
    given. Rote, ritualized prayer can be superficial while ‘ordinary’ day-to-day activities can hold profound space for conversation with God. When our relationships with each other and all of Creation are authentic, sincere, and not superficial, we are connecting with the Divine at our very core. Isn’t that prayer?
God of Love and Compassion, thank you for the gift of Tanya Williams. Tanya, thank you for being you.

Kathy Flynn, OP
Sinsinawa, WI


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