Dearest Rachel –
I know the thoughts that I have in the shower will never be registered in r/showerthoughts. They’re just neither original nor bizarre enough to qualify, and I guess I’m okay with that.
Which is of course, not to say that I don’t have thoughts in the shower. I mean, don’t we all? Or at least, those of us who take showers?
They’re just not worth sending to Reddit for folks to ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ over.
And so I put them here.
Once upon a time, I used to have a waterproof radio that your folks had given me that I would listen to in the mornings, and catch myself up on the news of the day. Somewhere along the way, probably sometime after we were challenged to read scripture on a regular basis by our pastor, I think you suggested I get rid of that radio, and try to think to pray instead as the water poured down upon me.
Honestly, for some time thereafter, most of my prayers were simply something along the line of “thank you God, for simply having hot water to ease my aching back.” I mean, if you think about it, none of the great kings of Israel – or any of the history-makers throughout antiquity, or even the vast swaths of more “modern” eras – ever enjoyed such a luxury as hot water on demand. We really do live in a great time, and there’s something to be said for being grateful for the many things we have that all too often, we take so much for granted.
Beyond that, though, I’ve never been particularly good at organizing or remembering things and people in prayer. I know even you used to be impressed by Jessica and her collection of inch square pages that she kept in her purse, bound in rubber bands, of people to pray for, and the fact that she apparently went through that entire list every day. Just the other day, when I was walking with Erin, an ambulance went by and I nearly bumped into her, because she had stopped to pray right then and there for whoever was in that ambulance. That’s the sort of thing that would never have occurred to me to do.
Eventually, I tried to set up a system of listing things and people to pray for a little whiteboard outside of the bathroom. We also used to use that as a to do list back-and-forth between each other. As you can see, most of the tasks have been erased, because who is there to remind anymore?
But a number of the prayers are still there, mostly because the needs never seem to go away. Dad is still recovering, mom still needs strength to deal with him, cousin Doris is still a widow… and now, so am I. And it’s that point where it all trails off, as you can see:
“What do we do now?”
More often than not, as I’m standing there in the shower, I simply find myself expanding upon the Lord’s Prayer. Not reciting it, understand – that would be counter to His instructions, where He speaks directly against simply repeating empty phrases by rote memory (and wouldn’t He be upset how certain folks get into an argument about “debtors” versus “trespassers”?). No, I try to use it as a framework, and flesh it out as I stand there.
But today, I just couldn’t get past the third line: “Thy kingdom come.” Normally, it’s such a remote request, to ask for Him to come and set up His kingdom. We know its going to happen someday, after all, but we don’t really think about what that means.
Partially because we probably can’t even grasp what it means for Him to essentially bring heaven onto earth. Just like we can’t truly comprehend what heaven is actually like, the idea of what it would be like to have it transplanted here is equally beyond our grasp to understand. And I’d be willing to wager that most of us are in no real hurry for that to happen yet. After all, we have our own plans, we’re minding our own business, enjoying our own lives…
For Him to all of a sudden (and it will be all of a sudden, now, won’t it?) show up and set up His kingdom, that would be an awful interruption for a lot of us, wouldn’t it?
The thing is, we as busy human, living our lives, are just not ready to accept everything that is entailed in that request to God. This planet Earth, this pale blue dust speck in space, is the only home we’ve ever known, and we simply can’t fathom abandoning it. Especially not since everything we know, use, and love is here.
But then, when what you love, the most important thing in your life is taken away from you, never to come back on this side of the veil, it changes your perspective tremendously. All of a sudden, you’re ready for heaven, because of what’s over there on that side.
And standing under that cascading warm water, I understood that I was at that ready state. And while I’ve mentioned before that I don’t fear death, I’m not exactly keen on its methods of taking us – the pain involved rather gives me pause. But were He to come down as He promised through Paul – “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” – and take us to Him, well then, that would be absolutely ideal.
And so, I realized that I truly mean it when I ask Him to come, to take me and everyone he calls His child Home. To prepare us to set up His kingdom here on earth in His time.
May your kingdom come, Oh Lord.
Until then, sweetheart, keep an eye on us.