Almost—Not Quite—Heaven -- By: Evelyn Bence
She’s deliriously happy. God, please give her a prolonged season of delight. Even heighten her senses till she thinks she’s standing in the foyer of heaven, catching the celestial, sensual overflow.
But I pause to pray for her one curious line buried in The Book of Common Prayer: Lord, in your love, “shield the joyous.” I hardly understand it, and yet I sense the elated need a special protection. She suddenly seems as vulnerable as a young child lured by the Pied Piper.
Shield her today. Protect her from friend or foe who might inadvertently or intentionally take advantage of her in her euphoria. Keep her from making foolish mistakes she’ll soon regret.
Shield her tomorrow or next week or next year, when she wakes up and finds herself here on this grave earth. Protect her again, from enemies of the spirit that might convince her that she never knew the joy or that she’s lost it forever or that it’s meant for every day of the year.
Shield her in her joy. Shield her in its wake.
Prayers for Girlfriends and Sisters and Me
Vine Books, 1999
(Reprinted by permission of the author.)
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