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A Story Told to Me by
an Old Woman in a Nursing Home

The first thing I noticed about her is that she was so completely
at peace. So I asked her about it, and this is the story she told:

"When I was young, I was so active and energetic. I loved hiking,
sailing and gazing at stars in the deep of night. I spent a lot of
time in the inner city too, working with children of poverty. It
seemed my heart was most content when my body was most active.
And my deepest prayer was grounded in the fullness of this love
relationship I had with the world around me. . . . Then illness
struck, and I've been here ever since. It wasn't giving up my active
life that was hardest though -- I also lost the prayer that had
flowed from it so abundantly. One day a total stranger stopped in
to visit, and for some reason I told him about losing my ability
to pray. After a moment's quiet, he asked me how I spend my days
here. I said, 'About all I can do now is knit.' 'So tomorrow,' he
said, 'before you begin, close your eyes for a moment and whisper
this: God, I'm going to be knitting now in your presence.' So that's
what I did. And gradually that deep well of prayer began to fill
up again, and to my surprise I began to find life's fullness again
where I had thought there was only emptiness - in the long slow
days, in the apple tree outside my window, in the song of the night
crickets. I guess fullness, like beauty, is in the eye of the

I believe her discovery is good for us too. Let's try it. For me,
"God, I am writing now in your presence." For you, "God, I am
reading now in your presence." For all of us, "Every moment, God,
we are living in your presence, for nothing can separate us from
the love of God - ever." -- The Rev. Margaret Gunness


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