intimacy, communication, God

There are nights when my Patient Husband and I spend the time together, but parallel. He’s doing his thing and I’m doing mine. He may be reading while I crochet. He and I may be surfing the web on our separate computers. But we’re in the same room, comfortably together and yet not really talking. But there’s still communication. It’s a good thing.

Not all the time, of course. Over time, communication is the best weapon we have for protecting our marriage. At times, though, being together-yet-quiet is a good thing. It happens sometimes when we’re cooking together, sometimes when we’re at church and he just takes my hand and squeezes it, or sometimes when we’re doing our own thing and he catches my eye across the room.

What if we could do the same with God? It’s not an all-the-time thing, but it occurred to me that Jesus’ injunction to “pray always” might at times mean that you’re doing your thing while God is doing His, and yet you’re together. You’re aware.

I’ve tried this a few times, and I like the feeling. I’m loading the dish washer and I imagine Jesus sitting at the table reading the newspaper. Or I’m folding laundry and imagine Jesus on the couch with a book. (Jesus frequently reads in my imagination.)

For some reason, this feels to me like sanctifying the work I do. It’s not much, and it takes a little practice for me to get into the groove of it (or else I just forget and my mind wanders off into….Ooh! Shiny!)

It’s not difficult to do, is my first thought. And yet I enjoyed it. Clearly this kind of imagining doesn’t take the place of actual prayer, but it does seem to foster a deep silent intimacy with God. If you can imagine God watching you fold your socks, it’s a very different feeling from imagining God entering His password (86 million characters long, in hex) into His email to download your latest prayers. There’s more solidarity. It cuts through the pretense.

Back when I was in college, I used to take my guardian angel out for coffee. I’d go over to McDonald’s after going to the Saturday Mass down the hill, or else after we got back from visiting the nursing home on Sunday. And then I’d get a little table for two (you know, the half-booth. This is McDonald’s we’re talking about, not Chez Expensive) and I’d chatter in his general direction. I’d imagine him sitting in the seat across from me and just talk about this, that or the other thing. Nothing profound. Nothing awe-inspiring. And then when coffee was finished, I’d go home. 

It’s hardly Midnight Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, but it was good. And in its own way, it’s something we can all do. 

Give it a try. The next time you find yourself facing two baskets of unfolded socks, ask God to join you while you fold them.


  1. Cricket

    I like this. I sometimes imagine my kids easily finding the clothes I fold, or happy to find them clean, but I can see how visualizing God just being in the room with you can make a difference.

  2. Briana

    That’s a lovely way of looking at prayer. I’ve always kind of thought that, as long as we keep the lines of communication with God open, we are praying without ceasing. Great reminder! 🙂

  3. magdalena

    I really enjoyed this 🙂

  4. Teresa

    Wow…did I need to read this today!

    Thank you. 🙂

  5. philangelus

    You’re welcome.

    I tried to picture God in the car with me when I drove to the store this morning, but it didn’t work so much. 🙂 Oh well.

  6. pamcee

    Driving with Jesus. That’s a message that I heard one Sunday. I can’t even remember the context, but it was basically that Jesus is with us, even in the car. It puts a whole new spin on how I drive and what I say, even if the windows are up! My DH & I often say, “Be safe cuz you’re driving with Jesus today!” or “Don’t forget to take Jesus with you.” Just a light-hearted reminder for us…

  7. philangelus

    It’s just not very prayerful when I imagine Jesus clutching the door handle or the seat belt with a panicked look in His eyes and hitting the imaginary brake pedal, that’s all.

  8. Cricket

    Were you driving as if you had a fish on your car?

  9. philangelus

    I do have a fish on my car.

    Or are you referring to my Wittenburg Door piece which was the “actual instructions” for how to drive when you have a fish on your car? (Things like, “Since the fish is on the back, people only see it if you pass them, so pass as many people as you can.”)

  10. Cricket

    I don’t remember that recommendation. In another post you said that if you have a fish on your car, everyone will think you are typical of all Christians, so you have a responsibility to represent them well. Is there a link to the humourous version?

  11. philangelus

    That one never seemed to make it online, but I’ll check later.

    It was my first Door acceptance. I think they said I could put those pieces on my weblog as long as I credited them with running them first, so maybe I will sometime.

    (“Speak on your cell phone while driving with the fish, so as to give the impression of preaching to all the nations.”/ “Drive so as to encourage others to pray always.” That kind of thing.)

  12. Heidi

    Beautiful idea–I’ll try it! I’ve been lurking for quite a while. I admire your stories very much and have come to appreciate angels more through them, thank you for that.

    Regarding talking to your angel, I used to carry on conversations with literary characters (or any unattainable person who struck my fancy) in my head, but it was out of loneliness. If I’d known about angels I would have talked to them, at least they would have heard me.

    Just wondering if you were lonely by any chance or is that just something you did? It sounds like you had a full life so maybe lonely in a crowd type of loneliness. Sorry if the question is intrusive in any way.


  13. philangelus

    I wouldn’t say loneliness as much as I just lived a lot in my own head. I didn’t really feel I connected with too many people, but when I did, it was an intense friendship. I’m not sure if you saw the angel’s “origin story” (hee) but it’s here if you didn’t.

    I just found it amazing that there was this unseen world worked into the fabric of our own, and I thought, “If I were doing a wretched job, like guarding me must be, then I would want to at least be thanked.” So I started trying to keep an eye out for things the angel might be doing and saying thank you for it.

    Some of the books said that if you told your guardian what your problems were, like when something was tempting you, the angel could tackle it better. That’s when I started talking, and once I start talking it’s hard to shut me up.

    Thanks for reading, Heidi!

  14. Heidi

    Then you were more successful than me. God bless you!

    I’ve read probably all the stories on your sidebar and your book. All excellent but I especially love “Damage”. Keep writing them.