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Diary of a Plain Pastor: Bumbler

You’re too restless. Your’e like a hornet in a bottle. But I believe you have the spirit of prayer. 

{The Diary of a Country Priest}

I wish I had a nickel for every half-baked idea, every book I intended to write, every conversation I imagined having – but forgot. My wife Miska sniggers at my forgetfulness and my mispronounced (or made-up on the spot) words (friends have dubbed them winnisms). I’m too restless. I take a number of wrong turns. If I wore a clerical collar, most days it would boast a stain of coffee or smudge of salsa.

That hornet and I share a few things. We’re both bumblers.

Of course, I long to live attentive to God; and I could use a bit more order to create space for that to happen. However, I’m coming to see God among the imperfections, not against them. When you bumble, it’s a bit easier to shed pretense, to stop masquerading as God’s power-broker. I mean, who’s kidding who, right? And the words to the bumbler’s prayer come quick and easy: God, help me.

I’m learning that prayers are better prayed from weakness than from strength. Prayers when I’m lost. Prayers when I’m confused. Prayers when I’m despondent or blue. Prayer for a friend, a parishoner, a neighbor. Prayer for my sons I love and my wife I adore – I ache for the three of them, sometimes I fear for them – but what can I do, other than my bumbling best and ask for God’s mercy.

I once heard someone ask Frederick Buechner to describe his prayer life. His one-word answer: meager. Who am I to judge another man’s self-criticism? But — I’ve read too much of the man, heard the holy tremor in his words, seen glory and imagination dance on the pages. By my lights, every syllable is prayer-soaked.

Slowly, I’m coming to believe that every syllable of my life can be prayer-soaked. I can walk, wrong turns and all, in that “spirit of prayer.” Bumble prayerfully on.

7 thoughts on “Diary of a Plain Pastor: Bumbler

  1. That was a "thanks, I needed that" article, Winn. Blessings. David Parish

  2. This truth challenges my own restless, anxious and overwhelmed heart to stillness. Thank you.

  3. you're welcome, David. Thanks for dropping by.

    Rachel, here's to stillness…

  4. 'so with a humble heart, on bended knee, I'm begging you please, for help…'

    Kristofferson, Buechner…you're in good company, Winn…

  5. Kristofferson, now there's a pray-er.

  6. I'm a bumbling,awkward,introvert who loves God and wants to expose His glory everywhere!My intellect,and various signs if "nerdery" don't qualify me or deny me of being loved and used by God.I love that line that says,"I'm coming to see God among the imperfections,not against them…".It's comforting to think that Jesus, as God in flesh, might have had an awkward moment.While he was God among us,He was touched by the things that concern us.My imperfections and insecurities rubbed up against the perfection of God. And it still does today.Thanks for reminding us that it's ok….

  7. yes2encore, welcome to the bumbler's corner, a quite, unobtrusive spot on the old web.

words have a way of making friends. drop a few here.