There’s something quite wonderful about feeling a chill on a late summer morning, waking up before dawn, putting on a heavy long sleeve shirt, and watching the sun rise while a cool breeze makes the branches dance and hum.

The chipmunks are delighting in the morning air, though it seems the birds are deciding to sleep in yet a bit longer. It’s a fall day, the kind of day which inspires the mind and soul, provoking one to finally getting to tasks long put aside, pushing one to pray and let thanksgivings become a refrain.

Call it a shift of heart and mind and soul, symbolized by the weather. All seems new. My decision to reset my focus this week is paying off, albeit slowly. It was a wall, and now the thought of watching news or discussing current events seems almost obscene. Like any misfocused addiction, however, it takes some time for me to restore fuller habits. But it’s happening.

Which is a nice thing.

So I continue to pray, and hope, and push myself forward. However, even in my prayers I’m learning. I’m learning to pray not beseech, to listen not demand, to yearn not to whine, to embrace not grab. There are points at which I want to throw myself into prayer for long periods, and yet I realize this is not a spiritual call but an emotional response setting me up for expectations of God which will disappoint. Not because God is disappointing, but because my goal is not to demand of God but to hear and respond to his call. I am learning to pray but with a looseness about it all that finds fluidity instead of viscosity. This is a struggle, for it means to have faith but be free in the faith, to want and yet be free in the want, to desire but be flexible in the yearning so the goal of Christ becomes always primary.

It means letting go, even of prayer at times, so that I can take hold of the higher things of God in my life, releasing so that I can find, freeing so that I can catch. It is the paradox of the way of the Spirit. In this is freedom and life. But, it’s a struggle to maintain.

So I keep working at it. May the light continue to shine.