I went to a women's retreat today at Grant Chapel AME Church in Trenton. My thanks to the Rev. Dr. Melinda Contreras-Byrd who organized and led today's retreat and to all the other women who spoke and participated in this retreat on prayer. With my own family being so far away, and the death of my grandmother on Wednesday, you all were my sister, my mother, my grandmother today.
I have a hard time sitting very long in either church or classroom settings. My mind wanders easily, and these days I'm likely to fall asleep that way. So I doodle when I listen to speakers, and it sharpens my attention. Here is my doodle from today:
The picture is full of quotes from each of the speakers. They're hard to see, and out of context, but these are the pieces that will stay with me a long time:
From the Rev. Dr. Melinda Contreras-Byrd:
"I invite you to stay awake."
"You stepped in here afraid of mysticism, but you leave...a mystic."
"Your story is your story and nobody else's and it is your gift."
"The end of the story is always grace."
"This is the world of the mystic."
From First Lady Donna Soaries:
"Who here has the most children? Nine? Can we stop and give praise for her?"
"If someone asks you to pray for their child, you might not want to wait until tomorrow's devotion."
From Rev. Kathy Smallwood-Johnson:
"By night on my bed, I sought the one I love, but I did not find him." (from Song of Solomon)
"Let me know when I should be still. I don't have to dance on every set."
"I prayed for God to shut the doors I wasn't supposed to walk through."
From the Rev. Kim Mayner:
"The road to another level of prayer begins in the wilderness."
"Are you sure you want to know how to get to another level of prayer? Are you sure?"
"We become prayer."
Thank you, sisters.