In addition to a Stealth Christian playlist, I have a guardian mix of “guardian angel songs.” They’re along the same lines as the stealth Christian, where the artists would be stunned to know I associate their songs with angels.
Without going into why I’ve made this association, on the guardian mix is “Little Wonders” by Rob Thomas. Here’s the chorus:
Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders
These twists and turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours
These small hours still remain
On Saturday afternoon I was baking cookies while the kids watched TV. I had the guardian mix on my iPod, and I alternated between baking and dancing (or sometimes both at the same time. I’m not very good at either, you see.)
I was spooning dough onto the cookie sheet when I felt intensely aware of angelic presence. I waited a moment, keeping myself silent inside, and then I got this strong sense: this was one of those small hours, one of the little wonders. Me baking cookies. A cold day, a warm house, a moment together, something I wouldn’t remember tomorrow and simultaneously something eternal.
And that led to something bigger: that this was how we “pray always” the way Jesus said. That being fully present in the moment is one way of prayer, that bringing our work before God and presenting it before Him is itself a gift, a prayer, and these little things we do honestly and cleanly will last forever.
I’ve been re-reading one of the books that formed my early spirituality, “Light and Peace” by R. P. Quadrupani. I don’t even know if it’s still in print, but it’s a very common-sense approach to Christian living, filled with quotes from St. Francis de Sales and drawing to a lesser extent on others. (What do you want to bet this is the first time anyone’s written about St. Frances de Sales in the same weblog entry as Rob Thomas?)
This is what it says about being in the Presence of God:
Frequently the fear comes to you that you have failed to keep yourself in the presence of God because you have not thought of Him. This is a mistaken idea. You can, without the definite thought, perform all your actions for love of God and in His presence, by virtue of the intention you had in beginning them. … Though the doctor did not have the invalid in mind when he is preparing the medicine that is to restore him to health, nevertheless it is for him he is working… In like manner, when you fulfill your domestic or social duties, when you eat or walk, devote yourself to study or to manual labor, though it be without definitely thinking of God, you are acting for Him, and this ought to set your mind at rest in regard to the merit of your actions.
Baking as prayer. Work as prayer. Work as being in the presence of God.