My February Prayer

I discovered the most lovely prayer, by the Trappist monk Thomas Merton, that perfectly fits my state of mind (and heart and soul) these days:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me.

Nor do I really know myself. And the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you, does in fact please you.

And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.

I hope I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore I will trust you always, though I may seem to be lost, and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Amen.

This simple yet enormously profound prayer captures all of my fears, my doubts and uncertainties, and encourages me to prayerfully hand them over to the God who loves me beyond measure, trusting fully that he will never leave me, so I do not need to suffer the sometimes overwhelming, anxiety that I often feel.

January was horrid. A migraine almost every day. A major fibromyalgia relapse. Seasonal Affective Disorder. The constant pain, day after day, exhausts me and leaves me frustrated and depressed, and also keeps me stuck in the house. The only time I left the house was to go to the dentist to deal with a difficult molar–which now needs a root canal. And my birth mother rejected my attempts to repair our estrangement, which makes me feel as though I’m ten years old and my mommy doesn’t love me anymore.

Mostly, I fret that I am drifting aimlessly, just going through the motions of living. Wasting my life. Annie Dillard says that “how we spend our days is how we live our lives” and I shudder at the idea that my life boils to one big headache.

Still, as Merton writes, the desire to please God is sufficient. That, and the knowledge that God is with me, even in the migraines and root canals and hurtful rejections of life.

And Merton is right. For now, at least, understanding that God is holding me is enough, has to be enough.

Summer, A Time of New Beginnings

There is in us an instinct for newness, for renewal, for a liberation of creative power. We seek to awaken in ourselves a force which really changes our lives from within. And yet the same instinct tells us that this change is a recovery of that which is deepest, most original, most personal in ourselves. To be born again is not to become somebody else, but to become ourselves.

Thomas Merton

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Finding Peace

You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.

–Thomas Merton

I’ve begun trauma therapy after living with PTSD for thirty years, and I’m finding it, well, traumatic. Please God, may all of this pain lead me to the peace Merton describes.

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