Words Words Words
Last week was truly a harrowing week, one for the history books, wouldn’t you say? And the complex story continues to unfold. Stay tuned. Early last week, however, curiosity prompted me, as a lover of good journalism, to begin to jot down key words found in standard media and print sources that captured prevailing moods and topics. The list of moods grew quickly and ranged widely from one extreme to another: grief, fear, isolation, rage, frustration, mistrust, disillusionment, confusion, questioning – to -- determination, enthusiasm, generosity, motivation, commitment, empowerment. Naturally the list of topics was also widely varied. It was heavy on the side of the election itself and politics in general, but also on the pandemic and its effects on just about every aspect of life, critical social justice issues that beg to be addressed, natural disasters and man-made catastrophes. Facts and misinformation (actually truth and lies) appeared side by side making it challenging to discriminate between the two. I was reminded of Charles Dickens’ famous lines with which he opens The Tale of Two Cities:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…
All the above became the context of my prayer. How was I to find meaning and direction in such a conflicted reality? I realized that, for me personally, what I was missing was a sense of balance and of peace. I did not deny nor run from the stressors that surrounded me, but I prayed to find a way through them. What would help to direct me to the interior places where wisdom can be found? Once again I turned my attention to words and found in familiar passages that the old friends could yield new meaning when I gave them time, sat with them, pondered them in silence. Often in praying this way I have found that the words merely open the door; it is God who enters and gives the balance and peace that I seek. I must remember to let God be God.
If you have an interest in trying this type of prayer, know that anything can be the launch pad. Anything at all can open the door to the good, the true, the beautiful – to God. The following are merely a few suggestions..
Where to go for help to find balance and peace
He has told you, O mortal, what is good; what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
Faith, hope and love, abide, these three: and the greatest of these is love. Corinthians 13:13
Live a life worthy of the calling you have received, with perfect humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another lovingly. Make every effort to preserve the unity which has the Spirit as its origin and peace as its binding force. Ephesians 4
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King, Jr.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Preamble to the Declaration of Independence
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill
Some men [people] see things as they are and ask why? I dream of things that never were and ask, why not? George Bernard Shaw paraphrased by Robert Kennedy
Music (for listening and/or singing)
Let There Be Peace on Earth Jill Jackson Miller and Sy Miller
Dona Nobis Pacem (Grant Us Peace) Composer unknown
Like a Bridge Over Troubled Water Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel
You’ll Never Walk Alone Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein
Remember: let God be God.