Wednesday, January 25, 2012

the grace of small wantings

I want to learn how to have a cup of loose green tea in the morning rather than three tall steaming cups of strong Italian roast coffee.
I want to learn to remember to wake up early like I used to so I can sit on my deck and watch the sun come up over Sharptop.
I want to learn to know more birds by songs and how to tell the difference between a redtail and a cooper’s hawk from far away.
I want to learn how to forgive myself for forgetting something every morning when I leave for work, usually something that seems essential.
I want to learn how to breathe deeply, all the time not just when I’m stressed and fumble for it like a line tossed to a drowning swimmer.
I want to learn how to play an instrument, preferably an old one with someone’s initials carved in it shallowly before it was handed down to the person I will get it from, a musician maybe who will see me on the street and just hand over this spare guitar or fiddle with a bow, stop busking, and wish me good fortune as I try to overcome the clumsiness of my tiny fingers and teach them how to become friends with string and wood.
I want to learn how to bake an amazing pie, not just a good one. One layered with berries and sugar and latticed with stripes of dough. A house and a rooftop, sustenance, comfort.
I want to learn how to build something out of wood. A shed, some rafters I can lean on when I’m tired, a glider I can prop my feet up in and hear the silence of the winter woods.
I want to find the space for the prayer I’ve always wanted to feel.  Not just to say but to offer without speech. Words will be there, and emptiness, and long loose strands of squirrelnest, and acorns. Pens, because I hoard them and would love to begin to give them away. A swimmer’s goggles, faintly redolent of chlorine, a bar of lemongrass soap, a dog’s collar still husky with the holy wolfish domesticity of dogsmell. A bandaid or two adorned with cartoon characters, maybe Spongebob Squarepants or Spiderman. A sheaf of index cards I stuffed in my raincoat pocket with notes on them from my observations in the Atlanta airport. An old pair of eyeglasses so thick you could start a brushfire with them. A bright blue paper clip. An Indian head penny. A recipe ripped from my stepmother’s Southern Living on the sly, promising me a perfect bowl of gazpacho. When I assemble these things I will stroll around them with my camera out, searching for the perfect angle from which to send up this prayer, and then I will sit down in the short winter grass in front of this prayer and I will watch it start to rise, carried up and off and then back down to me on a current of salutation and numinous grace, the breath of God speechless in the clouds I breathe as I listen.

--©Laura Sorrells 2007
all rights reserved

I wrote this in response to a website writing prompt about what I wanted, back in 2007. I have moved closer to some of these things since then but most of the wanting still applies.


  1. i wonder if we are supposed to ever arrive or rather, maintain our living and leaning toward, this, our momentum, which allows us only tongue swipes of fruition in moments.

    I want to find the space for the prayer I’ve always wanted to feel.

    and your listing of carefully observed and valued things - it warms me - and it tells me your eye is looking, seeing, searching.

    i love this piece, laura.


  2. thank you so much, erin. that space seems to be finding me. I am so glad you enjoyed this.

  3. I want to enjoy a slice of that pie! A nice wish list--it's best to wish for what is lovely and not just for more stuff.

  4. Oh, I don't want or need more stuff. it actually never occurs to me to wish for stuff, aside from things like new hiking boots or something. I'm still working on the pie.

  5. This is so beautiful. Your words dances around my imagination this morning. I'm glad I stumbled upon your blog. May your day be filled with things you want, and most importantly may it be filled with what your soul needs.

  6. Danced* as opposed to dances, I do actually know grammar to some extent. Oh, typos. :)

  7. Samantha, thank you. I'm glad you found my blog and that you like it. oh, a little subject-verb disagreement is good for the soul, I think. I hope your days feed your soul, too.


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About Me

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Georgia, United States
I live at the edge of the forest in a little town in the north Georgia mountains. I teach sixth grade Language Arts and am writing a memoir of sorts about family, spirituality, and narrative. I am also exploring a possible writing project having to do with contemporary lay contemplative experience and how it might be informed by the Desert Fathers and Mothers of early Christianity. I am a relatively recent convert to Roman Catholicism and an admirer of Pope Francis, Leonardo Boff, Joan Chittister, and Richard Rohr. I'm a Lay Associate of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery in Conyers, Georgia. I am interested in indigenous cultures, narratives, and spirituality, especially how these can inform my spirituality as a lay contemplative. I write, read, take pictures, play around with creating ephemera from paper and cloth and other organic things. I cook, hike, watch wildlife, and collect random bits of interesting oddness, both tangible and abstract. I am a seer of smallness and a caretaker of ridiculous minutiae. If you want, e-mail me at or