For the beauty of the earth, For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise This our grateful hymn of praise.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer Weather in My Heart

I love the book The Valley of Vision. It's a great prayer tool.  You can use it when you know what to pray and especially when you just don't. Organized into different sections such as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; Penitence and Deprecation; Approach to God; and so on, you can easily find a prayer to inspire you to go deeper with your communion with God.

My reading today ended with "...and when I am restored and rest in thee give me summer weather in my heart." That might elicit a silent guffaw with folks considering how hot it can get in summer.  But when you realize what used to happen in winter, the heat of summer was probably a welcome relief.  When the prayer was written, people still contracted pneumonia with no hope of recovery. Disease during a winter that was often long and miserable wasn't the only depressing thing.  Lighting was not what it is today. The nights were long & dark. A candle or oil lamp would be the only light in a room of most common people.  Houses often burned from logs falling out of open fires or candles carried too close to draperies. And if you've never lived somewhere that gets truly cold and snowy in winter, and where people use wood or coal for heat, you probably don't know about the smell.  It smells of smoke, always.  The air inside the house, the air outside the house.  Everywhere you go it smells of smoke.  Your clothes and your hair always smell of smoke.  When the first sniff of spring comes it is truly a breath of fresh air.

Life is like that.  Especially life in the darkness of mental illness.  For those who don't know me I have suffered for the most part of the past 14 years with post-partum depression, with occasional bouts of post-partum psychosis.  It has only been within the last year that I have finally been released from this.  There is no feeling like it in the world except, perhaps, the feeling one has when they are first born again. It is truly summer in the heart.

"...then take away my mourning and give me music;
remove my sackcloth and adorn me with beauty;
take away my sighs and fill my mouth with songs;
and when I am restored and rest in thee
give me summer weather in my heart."

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