What Say You?
One of my favorite phrases right now is, “What say you?” I have heard it used in various BBC Canadian productions set in the early 1900’s. It is akin to our modern question, “What’s up?” This is a way of checking in and/or intentionally seeking the opinion of another. It means I am focusing attention onto the person I am in conversation with. Notice the words intention and attention.
Most days, I start my devotional time with God by intentionally asking Him to get the attention of my mind, body, and heart in line with His purposes for the day. I have always considered this a good precursor to conversations with God. However, one day, I realized I was missing something – a depth, a richness to time spent with our Lord. God brought me into the understanding that I was not totally engaged in Him and our time together. Sometimes that was because I was distracted by events, hurts, or lies from yesterday. And, truthfully, it is not an exaggeration to say my attention was often on worries about tomorrow. He showed me I was in need of two basic elements of worship – being present in the Presence and being grateful.
I originally had no idea what I was supposed to do with this new insight. So I asked God for a few more details here. Then in a Bible Study one morning, the illumination I was seeking shone through a friend of mine who was recently released from prison. My friend had figured out how to be grateful in circumstances worse than I have ever known and, likely, will never face.
My friend told me that each morning, when he awoke in his cell, he would take a step with his right foot, and a step with his left foot while saying to the Lord, “Thank You.” His words corresponded to his movements. He still does this today as he makes his way to the bathroom in his apartment. This is what it looks like – right left, right left, “thank You, thank You.”
I like this visual, and have adopted it as a regular practice when I arise from slumber each morning. I purposefully put my right foot down while saying “thank” and my left foot down while saying “You.” This gets my body moving in the direction of the present and the Presence. It also calls my thoughts into the frame of gratitude.
Getting my body in the right place and my mind thankful is not all that tough, honestly. The hardest part is getting my heart engaged in the chorus. My heart is a tough one to wake up because it likes to stay as long as possible in the dream world. But when the dance begins, due to the mind’s and body’s encouragement, my heart responds with joyful, and almost audible, “thump thud.”
Sometimes, I wake up in a rotten mood. Sometimes my heart has been hurt by something done or left undone. Sometimes my mind is a little foggy, and it is hard to get the words and movements into the day’s rhythm. Sometimes my feet move a little slower than they used to, or I find my body a little stiff (do you think after 20 years of Irish Step Dance and the celebration of birthday number sixty two last summer?). But when these three parts start to work in unison, the outcome is powerful and goes something like this.
Body: Right left, right left, right left.
Mind: “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
Heart: Thump thud, thump thud, thump thud.
When body, mind and heart are singing in unison, the message is that all systems are go. Then, and only then, through the lens of gratitude and posture of being present in the Presence, can the past be relinquished, the worry about the future be surrendered, and the whole person engaged in worship and praise. I am free to raise my hands, walk into a rich time with the Lord, and say, “Good morning Father, God. What say You?”
Copyright March 2014