I am watching the clock and waiting for my son and husband to clear out of their morning bustle in the kitchen. The sun has just risen and is streaming through the windows, perfectly angled to my chair. I have my steaming cup of chai tea, my journal and pen, and my Sacred Space app pulled up on my phone. I have a packed day ahead, but I am determined to take the next 30 minutes for some dedicated prayer. Finally, the garage door closes, and a silent house is mine. Ahh.
And then I hear it. In my ears it is like a blaring car alarm going off right under my chair. Chirp. Chirp. Chirp. I stop rocking in my chair, but it continues. Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.
The sound of the cricket seems to be ricocheting off the walls. I can’t tell where it is coming from. I get down on my hands and knees. Silence. The cricket has spotted me, but I don’t know where he is. The silence holds for as long as I am on the floor, but the second I climb back into the chair, the torturous chirping begins again. Now I am thoroughly frustrated. I get the vacuum out of the closet, pull off the hand wand, and suction every nook and cranny I can find—behind my chair, along the edge of the wall, even down the steps to the garage. Confident that I have defeated the enemy, I recoil the cord, put the vacuum away, and retake my seat. Blissful silence at last.
Until…Chirp. Chirp. Chirp. This time I know where he is. That spirit not of God in cricket form is wedged in a corner between the stairs and the door to the garage. Although my blissful 30 minutes are now down to 15, I haul out the vacuum again. Imagining the cricket holding on for dear life to a single strand of carpet while its body gets blown by the hurricane force winds of the vacuum, I spy the transparent dust-collection cylinder for cricket body parts. There is no way out for him.
Finally, assured of my victory, I return to my chair, breathe a deep sigh, and try to get myself back in the space for prayer. Silence. As much as I want to focus, half of my mind is still wondering if I got him or not. I must admit, when I heard that chirp again, a tiny part of me was cheering for the underdog little cricket who had miraculously evaded the vacuum not once but twice. I had to concede defeat. I would forever have a new pet in my home. Chirp. Chirp.
I was down to 10 minutes of my prayer time when I finally opened the Sacred Space app. I tapped the “Begin the Prayer” button, and the random background sounds began. Some days it is chanting monks. Some days it is a solo wistful piano. That day, though, it was the sounds of nature, complete with waterfall, tweeting birds, and…chirping crickets. I had tried so hard to orchestrate the perfect prayer experience only to be reminded that the reality of the present moment—with whatever annoying sensory overloading moment I am in—can be a moment for grace. Waiting for the perfect time and place for prayer is a justification for bypassing a thousand perfect moments right in front of us—like this one.
The background noises of life are an orchestra setting the scene for an encounter with the Power of Infinite Love. Instead of being distracted by my need to orchestrate them, I need to see background noises as being orchestrated for me to listen. Now I see that instead of annoying spirit-not-of-God chirps, I had a one-cricket band playing just for me.