Thursday, May 15, 2014

Pride, privacy and prayer

I finally honored what I have been intending to do for months: walk around the massive building I rent a studio in and pray that Spirit's will prevails. It felt really good, but so did the conversation preceding my moving meditation.

Next Monday, May 19, the school district that owns this 102-year-old building will auction it, not necessarily committed to the highest bidder. It's been almost a decade since they held classes here, though it's currently about two-thirds occupied, and it is deteriorating. I can't blame them. And I have been saddened and frustrated by the lack of initiative in saving this relic, but I take that as a sign that people don't have deep enough pockets and interest has waned over the years.

I wrote a column several weeks ago hoping the local paper would print it and I'd get some response in gauging any level of interest and energy. Apparently I missed the deadline for that week, so I sent it to the daily paper and posted it on Facebook. It was shared quite extensively, for which I am grateful. The daily editorial-page editor even e-mailed seeking some photo ops, but nothing transpired.

There's been a tinge of regret that I hadn't done anything sooner. And then I am reminded that I have. At Spirit's beckoning, I pushed the district to let me rent a former classroom, then created a burgeoning arts program for kids just up the hill in our only subsidized housing for families. Yes, the poorest kids in town, who are also my neighbors. And have they loved this space as much as I. Their boundless energy fills the halls every second Saturday. Way back when we first met as a group, the six brave girls went gaga over the dinged 1970s-era lockers, so I purchased locks for our next meeting and these cubbies continue to be a source of pride and privacy for kids with too little of each. [ Read previous, related post: http://salonforthesoul.blogspot.com/2012/09/feeling-at-home-together.html]

We me here last Friday for a pizza dinner as a prelude to their being honored at Brazee Street Studios. It was quite the party feeding them, getting them to change into their new Artsy Fartsy Saturdays t-shirts and organized into small groups for carpools. There wasn't the time to prep them that the sale was imminent. I had intended to.

Today, on my way in, travel mug brimming with decaf, I parked the car and ventured to the Methodist Church next door. We've had a friendly relationship as neighbors caring for many of the same kids and families. I had met the somewhat newish pastor two months ago when the school district held a community meeting about what to do with the building; unfortunately it was too little, too late. The pastor had been in the small group I'd chosen to brainstorm possible uses. I liked what he'd said, but felt he hadn't quite said everything ... in that things were still formulating and it was too early or the inappropriate time and place.

So, today, I felt Spirit calling that the time was right. He happened to be in and welcomed me into his office, hidden in the middle of the church, sandwiched between the sanctuary and large, multipurpose room. He has a pleasant, quiet manner so atypical these days. He's a good listener and heard me spew a bit, then shared what had been happening within his faith community. I was relieved. Apparently, the church attempted to rally interest last fall and reached the same conclusion I have: little energy and less money.

However, they have been formulating their own plan, which would continue the community use of the space and fit their mission and ministry ... including room for me! They plan to present it to the school board separately from next week's auction. "We can't compete with a developer," he'd said of what could happen Monday.

I had remembered telling him about my moving prayer idea in March and he said they had been doing similarly. "We've been praying the Lord's Prayer – Thy will be done." I mentioned I had Methodist roots and remarked that sounded so much like the Quaker "way will open." Exactly, he responded. I confided that I have learned when it seems nothing else is possible, there is always prayer. He remarked that the church has had the very same lesson. I also said that whenever God responded to something of concern to me, Her solution was always so much more than I ever could have possibly imagined. I got up to leave, thanking him for his unscheduled time and asked if a hug were okay instead of a handshake. He agreed.

And then I walked back to my studio the long way, encircling the building repeating "Thy will be done." I am no longer worried.

• When have I prayed unconventionally?
• How has God answered my prayers in comparison to my solution?
• How have I learned to trust Spirit when things seem out of my control?
• What has it felt like to trust?
• When have I been able to share that with someone like-minded?

my heart was set here,
years ago
I wanted
THIS space,

a bit of a bumpy
start, but I got
my old classroom

transformed it
with hand-me-downs,
attic relics and a
few, fill-in
thrift store purchases

all before
the kids came

they loved it
even more than
I, I suspect

from the get-go
they saw past the
peeling paint,
passe´ wall and locker
colors to the fact
this was their space

no matter what the
future holds for this
old gal, I believe it
will always be
their space

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