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While I was in Spokane, I created a prayer as part of Sabbath practice. It was not so much a new prayer, but an amalgam of existing prayers including lines from the 23rd Psalm, which I recall imperfectly. The prayer served as a great way to stop, slow down, and catch my breath.

Stuart Kestenbaum memorized the 23rd Psalm, but suggests recalling its exact order was challenging. He captured its essential message, one of goodness and mercy wherever we are in a particular day and life. Sabbath happens when we need it. It is that moment, regardless of beliefs, when we pause and catch our breath. It allows us to catch up to the our self, so to speak, even in simple tasks like opening  doors.

The only psalm I had memorized was the 23rd
and now I find myself searching for the order
of the phrases knowing it ends with surely
goodness and mercy will follow me
all the days of my life and I will dwell
in the house of the Lord forever only I remember
seeing a new translation from the original Hebrew
and forever wasn’t forever but a long time
which is different from forever although
even a long time today would be
good enough for me even a minute entering
the House would be good enough for me,
even a hand on the door or dropping today’s
newspaper on the stoop or looking in the windows
that are reflecting this morning’s clouds in first light.



About ivonprefontaine

I completed a PhD at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. Previously, I taught for 20 years and taught for 15 years in a wonderful hybrid school. My dissertation topic and research were how certain teachers experience becoming who teachers. In teaching and leanring, I am a boundary-crosser who understands moving ahead is a leap of faith. Teaching is a calling and vocation to express who I am as a person. Currently, I am waiting and listening to what calls me next. I am an educator, phenomenologist, scholar, boundary-crosser, published poet, author, parent, grandparent, and spouse.

14 responses »

  1. I love this! I do the same! I go over and over it in my mind till I get the order right! Good verse to mull over in your mind I think!

  2. how wonderful to renew old teachings
    making them fresh and relevant in this moment!

  3. Psalm 23 is the only one I memorized too.

  4. I haven’t seen you for a long time.

  5. How beautiful! I did an exercise like this once in my Psalms class a few college semesters ago.


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