Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Prayer at the Dump
As I was unloading a trailer filled with limbs that had fallen over several weeks and household garbage that had accumulated over a few days, I listened to the voice coming from the caretaker's shack some hundred feet away. (Read previous blog for more context.) Out of the African-American tradition, the man who worked there was singing, verse after verse of the song, "I'm gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine..." I was so surprised and blessed, I just worked all the more slowly so there would be more to listen.
Finally, he finished. Then there was a silence interrupted only by the sound of limbs crashing against the open mouth of the dumpster. After no more than a minute or two, the voice started up again, reverberating loudly across the dump. "O Lord, I just want to be closer to You. Oh, Lord, You know I desire You with my whole heart. O Lord, make me a man with a pure heart..." I stood there still as I listened to what I knew was the prayer of the man who had only moments earlier been blessing me with his singing.
His praying was so loud, it was impossible not to hear. As I listened, I started breathing whispered prayers of my own. There in that place filled with the waste and trash of the world, a man was worshipping God as if he was in the most ornately kept sanctuary, and I, the passerby was caught up in that wonderful moment of transcendent presence and blessed.