About 6 weeks ago I was walking through our backyard when I looked up and noticed a speck of a spider suspended in the air, high over my head. I stopped and studied the situation. I could not see the threads that were holding the spider hanging in the wide empty space between two trees which stand at least 20 feet apart. I snapped a picture, wrote 17 beats, and wondered…..
What did that spider feel while looking out into empty space from its perch way up there right before the jump? Was it surprise-swiped into space by a sudden gust of wind? Or did it totally know the wind, leaping into it with confidence while understanding that it would be held and carried to a workable landing spot. And then, I wondered, once anchored in that new spot – Goodness! the effort that must have been required for scrambling way back out along the line to….spin a web? Perhaps this spider was new at web design and guilty of overreach. Or maybe it was an experienced creature, fueled by ambition and imagination. I came inside and watched a few YouTube videos about how spiders spin their webs. But really, whatever the spider was actually doing up there, however it came to be hanging out in space at that moment – simply enjoying the view, or being a daredevil or a master weaver – it gave me pause. And I found myself thinking about wind and anchors and invisible thread.
After a years-long break, David and I found our way back to regular Sunday morning participation with a community of faith this past year. The music at this church has been especially life giving for me, the hymn selections each week come from a remarkable collection and I appreciate being regularly introduced to new songs which speak truths of my experience and it’s been so good getting to rest in songs I know quite well. A quote attributed (but debated) to Augustine states that he who sings prays twice. I absolutely resonate with this idea as I join in song each week: I find myself there, in layers upon layers of prayer.
A few weeks ago, on a particularly rugged weekend (the mother of one of my dearest friends had just died and I was grieving), I sat in church and joined in the singing. I often bring the bulletin home after church, snap a picture, or write down the name of a song I want to return to that week, but I don’t have anything recorded from that particular Sunday. What I did come home with was a keen awareness of the profound gift that is singing together as prayer.
That afternoon I sat down with my cut and paste word scraps and started building. It took a couple weeks worth of puzzling, but I finally came to this: