Sitting in a cafe by yourself praying aloud can look a bit weird. However, sitting in a cafe by yourself scribbling into a little notebook doesn’t look weird at all. So I can sit, sip a flat white, nibble a brownie and write prayers. (Although I got some funny looks when I stopped to snap a pic of my coffee.)
As part of “stilling myself”, I focus on an awareness of my surroundings. I’m sitting at a table outside, beside the footpath. A sparrow grabs some crumbs under another table.
A breeze caresses the potted plants next to me. Some friends greet each other. A father and daughter sit down together, just hanging out. Music playing in the cafe. The calling of gulls in the carpark. The smile of the waitress serving the customers and clearing tables.
I find myself reminded of when I was about eleven years old I wrote a poem, the first lines of which were:
As I sit on my doorstep
Watching the world go by
Having dug through both my archives and my mother’s collection, there appears to be no copies of the full poem left in existence. But it described the different things that could be seen and heard from the “doorstep” (although that was a poetic device, I remember composing it as I walked home from school one day).
I think my eleven year old self was onto something. Even surrounded by movement and noise, somehow by being aware of it, I can find a place where I also begin to be aware of the presence of the Creator, and turn my attention heavenwards. As I do so, the surroundings I was focusing on just a short time ago begin to fade from my awareness and I can turn my attention to prayer.