January 21, 2013
Other Voices, ME Newsletter, Vol. 6, Issue 4
My circumstantial childhood memory is often cloudy on specifics, but some lessons have stayed with me.
Like the time one of us kids was hauled into the bathroom because of saying something ridiculously not grounded in reality. Pointed toward the mirror, he was told, “If you can say that to yourself with a straight face….”
It goes something like that with prayer. For me, internal silent prayers are ridiculous sounding when uttered aloud. They mirror back to me; hollow, questionable and really rather insignificant.
I suspect it’d be even worse when praying aloud for myself. But, to be honest, except for that one recent plea, there isn’t any praying aloud for myself. There isn’t much praying for myself at all. I’ve never caught onto that. If GOD knows what I want, why do I pray? And why, do we ask GOD to intercede when our lives are already written, determined. What is the point of praying if not intercession?
Besides, I feel silly talking to air when I truly believe GOD knows my heart. Sometimes, though, saying things aloud, bringing voice, results in a clarity I hadn’t considered. 3 years ago, I bought intricately beaded black prayer shawl from a Bourbon Street Merchant in New Orleans with the intent of routinely praying. Routinely and me don’t always mix, but that’s another issue.
I’ve been told not to overanalyze it, just pray. Not entirely a realistic expectation for me, either. But having just experienced questioning aloud and not having been thrilled with the result, it occurs to me that the result was the ultimate answer. When an answer blooms it's way to the surface, it is surely because it was nurtured by a question.
One day on a friend's bedroom wall, along with a picture of a Cabbit, and other girly tackings, hung a scenic setting-sun decoupage:
"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense." Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)
Truly, each morning, a chance to start over? Self-forgiveness was an enormous unknown to me. Another startling late 1970's discovery came from a classroom bulletin board. One of my more love-and-peace hippie-esque teachers shared poems and quotes - an archaic form of posting. I copied the best ones in my best cursive penmanship into a paperback "Nothing Book." It was called Journaling; the modern day equivalent of blogging, without an audience of course. Common to many, unknown to me, it opened my eyes to possibilities, and godly assistance.
"God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the difference."
Both quotations still rank among my favorites. Until this moment, I'd seen them as wonderful prose; revered poetry, cherished words I have clung to for over three decades. More than just philosophical suggestions, I give them regard as perfect simple prayers; voices for the struggle, echoing the truth in similar but different ways; HIS will be done.
Posted by jaselin at January 21, 2013 03:41 PM