"In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy." Brother David Steindl-Rast

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Solidarity in Prayer

Today I am grateful for the road traffic I can hear this morning. It means it's a typical day.

I am also grateful for time with my friend Sara last evening. We ran together for the first time and got to talk and get caught up. Sara and I share a cancer diagnosis in 2008, and much more since we met on the day I got my head shaved. There is more to write, but for now, I am grateful for our time together and that Sara has been relieved of the burden of cancer in more ways than one. (The burden never fully leaves, but we take what we can get.) Great to see you Sara!

Yesterday's post was about showing and sharing solidarity. Prayer is an avenue to solidarity that I truly believe in. Prayer brings the seemingly disparate parts of myself together and makes way for acceptance and patience. Prayer allows me to connect with the Higher Power or Great Spirit I turn to instead of simply relying on myself and my often misguided ego.

For me growing up, prayer was more obligatory, someone else's idea, and most often someone else's words too. I didn't find it all that comforting because I wasn't all that invested in it, or open-minded about it.

Like much of the best wisdom shared with me, other recovering alcoholics have taught me a lot about prayer. So have many others. Especially those who have known suffering. (And isn't that all of us?) People like my friend Sheila, facing a wall of grief since her daughter Carli died on April 4.

Prayer is about reaching out with an open mind and heart, stemming from our soul--that unseen source of who we really are at our core. Reaching out to others; those facing grief, loss, challenges, surgery, aging, broken dreams, a big event, marriage, a baby on the way, success. Prayer is for all times, not just the tough ones. Sometimes the good times are when we forget prayer and that is when prayers of thanksgiving are meant to flow freely.

In recent months there have been so many I have sent prayers of support and strength out to. I have been praying for others for many years. It is an important part of my morning routine because it is action and because it gets me out of my own little head.

I feel better for the effort, and I believe my prayers add to the positive stream of good in the world. To bring peace and comfort, in small, unforeseen ways when the pain is great. To bring humility and grace when success comes.

In other words, prayer always helps. Say prayers others have written. Make up your own. Listen and see what comes through. It all works.

How do I know it works? Because I believe it works. That is really all it takes.

But I can be a doubter, a person lacking in faith too. So to hear amazing stories of connections made on many levels, seen and unseen, felt or intuited, proves to me that it works. Taking the actions proves effectiveness. I get up off of my knees and feel a kinder and gentler approach to the day ahead and to my fellow humans, even myself.  I end a conversation and I feel fortified that there was much more between the other person and I than just words.

Prayer. Mutual support. Solidarity. Let us start here today.

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