One morning during prayer I read this petition from a booklet I was using: “Help us to reach out to those who are elderly, lonely, or ill.”
I paused. Then I chuckled. “That sounds a lot like me!” I said.
I qualify for the elderly part. After all, I’ve been around the sun 73 times. Anyone who’s made that many solar orbits has earned the title elderly. Or (employing another metaphor) when I look into the mirror in the morning, I clearly see that I am no longer a spring chicken. I’m more of a winter hen. I know some of you reading this blog are also winter hens (or winter roosters!) or summer or autumn fowl.
And that word lonely also describes me at times. Although I have a wonderful family and beautiful friends, I still feel “alone” at times. Or unconnected. Or not completely understood. Heck, I don’t even understand myself at times—my anxieties, my fears, my yearnings. How can I expect others to understand me? The poet John Donne wrote, “No man (or woman) is an island.” But Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote, “I feel we are all islands—in a common sea.” Sometimes I lean more toward Anne’s take on things than John’s.
And that word ill? That too describes me at times. I’m guessing many of you reading this blog can say the same thing about yourselves—whether you’re feeling a kink in your lower back or are dealing with a serious illness.
So, “Help us to reach out to those who are elderly, lonely, or ill.” “That’s me,” I said. “Start with that.”
So when I turned the prayer around to point at myself, what did I pray for?
For myself and for others like me, I prayed for more gratitude for all the years I’ve been privileged to live on this gorgeous and mysterious planet. And I prayed for less complaining about the small things that irk me but are just a part of daily life: traffic jams, computer glitches, ubiquitous ads, grumpy people, long lines, and inconveniencing weather. I prayed for more patience with my kinks, my imperfections, my anxieties. I asked to accept my level of energy at this particular time in my life. And I prayed for greater humility and trust when it comes to letting go of things… like unreal expectations… the desire to be in control… the need to be right… the belief that I must and can fix everything—including other people.
The old proverb says, “Charity begins at home.” Sometimes our prayer does too.
What do you pray for? Do you ever pray for yourself?
I chose a David Haas song for today entitled, “You Are Mine.” I don’t know where you are spiritually today, but my prayer is this: May you hear God or Jesus saying these words to you today…
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