Reimagined examen on relationships, connection and separation

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  1. Begin by resting in God’s presence.
    Maybe take a few moments with your eyes gently closed. Ask God to guide you through this prayer.

  2. Spend a few moments in gratitude.
    Think of all the blessings and ‘silver linings’ you have encountered in the last couple of days. Try to think of at least 3 things you are grateful for and tell God about them. They may be very small things: the breath in your lungs, the sound of birdsong, a message from a friend, the taste of coffee. 

  3. Take a moment to consider how your relationships have changed over the last year
    Try to be honest about your feelings about these changes. Things have changed enormously since the pandemic, people have moved away or moved into a different season of life, and this can change friendships. Don’t judge yourself for the way you’re feeling about this. Just be honest and acknowledge how you are actually feeling. Note the emotions you feel when you think of these connections without judging or overanalysing. Simply acknowledge them, pay attention, and listen to where God may be speaking.

  4. Start with your relationship with God.
    Where has God felt present lately? What have been the life-giving, affirming, comforting moments lately? Can you feel God’s presence in some everyday blessings? It may be that everything is overwhelming at the moment or that God feels absent. That’s OK. God is still there. You are still a beloved child of God and you always will be. Remember that God wants to be present in all parts of our lives—not just the easy times.

  5. Take some time to think about the moments of connection with other people or created beings you have experienced lately.
    Even the small ones, an exchanged smile, a short conversation with someone at church, or maybe an email that made you laugh. It could be hearing your cat purr or walking the dog. Who do you find yourself reaching out to at the moment? Where do you feel a growing sense of connection with someone? Which relationships do you feel are life-giving at the moment? Do you feel overdependent on someone? Give all of your thoughts and feelings on this matter to God and ask for God’s perspective on it. 

  6. Now consider the people and relationships which have felt disconnected lately.
    People and relationships which feel harder or more distant at the present time. Some relationships meet a natural end, others may just be on ice while everyone focuses on just getting by. There may be some relationships you find yourself consciously avoiding at the moment. It may be that being apart has helped you realise how important someone is to you. Try to be really honest with yourself about what you’re feeling and why. Tell God about it.

  7. Consider a few ways you can intentionally connect with others tomorrow.
    God made us creative, imaginative people. Even in this time of separation and possible isolation, what is one way you can maintain meaningful connection to others—whether directly, through technology, or intentional focus and attention. You could even just pray for someone. Consider a few ways you can intentionally connect with others tomorrow.

  8. Think through all the relationships, thoughts and feelings you have considered in this prayer time.
    Which thoughts and feelings have you felt most strongly? Pause and reflect on where you’re being invited to grow from that moment. Where do you need God’s healing? Where is there cause for praise and celebration? Listen to where God is speaking, and try (though we all find it difficult) to consider the positive causes for praise as well as negatives. What has been done has been done, what has not been done has not been done. Let it be.

  9. End by saying the Lord’s Prayer.