The prayer I have often cited as my best one goes like this: God, help me to see things as they really are (and not the way I want to see them). I’ve often turned to it when I know I’m getting in my own way, tripping and fumbling over life’s challenges. What's left out of the prayer, however, is something I didn't realize could or would be a problem until recently: what do I do with those realities once I "see" them? What if I don't know what to do? The patterns of life and human frailty have me considering sometimes unaccountable realities: specific neuroses, family tragedies, habitual behaviors. Human beings are such flawed creatures who paradoxically can be strongest when weakest, but it’s one thing to deal with your own shortcomings--quite another to deal with someone else’s.
If I cannot "do" anything more than be patient about these, work through them, knowing these are long haul problems and not quick fixes, then what can I do when I am weary or wary of the snarls in my life, ever watchful and suspicious that their ugliness will rear its head in fear and anger and trepidation?
Seems a hopeless cause sometimes, especially when I am caught in the middle of someone else's dark hole, or stymied by my own. When it seems hopeless is when I pray, because I know I cannot do it by myself. There isn’t always an answer or remedy, and sometimes what I have to see with the eye of my soul is acceptance, or humility. The acceptance might be status quo, and I may not like that, but I find myself called upon to be humble in the face of a long-term solution. The hope for a solution, even. It’s hard in a world of immediacy (I want my facebook, iPad, instant download, yadda yadda) to understand or even accept this kind of slow boil. Me...want...now!
I know that in my lifetime I’ve experienced the joy of prolonged answers over and over--I know their sweetness, and I can’t quit the idea that somehow, there’s a better plan than what I wrought. This kind of thinking gives me the fortitude I need to get through the rough patches, and that’s a good start. In the end, it’s up to me to take up that newfound strength and use it properly, wield it like a sword, and stand up instead of cower at my own conjured and real fear.