I need Help. With everything. That is just how it is. I am not wringing my hands and gnashing my teeth and tearing out my hair…but there are things that I CAN NOT do on my own. Really to be philosophical I can not do anything by myself. I am unfit to be an Island. “No man is an island, Entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less. As well as if a promontory were. As well as if a manor of thine own Or of thine friend’s were. Each man’s death diminishes me, For I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know For whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee.” John Donne.
Again, as in my message yesterday, we are all inter-related. We are meant to invest in each other’s lives and be an intercessor for each other. I NEED the mail deliverer and the grocery store people and the electric and water and cable guy. I need the teacher and the preacher and the farmer. I couldn’t last a week out in the elements without coffee or peanut butter. “If a clod be washed away by the sea…”if a life is lost or wasted or not valued we are missing out on that person’s gifts…on that person’s promise and possibility and contribution to make this world a better place. So how do we make certain that we do our part to live to our fullest potential and to encourage others to do the same?
I was thinking about this just a little bit ago. Are we trying to do all of our NEW RESOLUTIONS at one time? Are we disappointed when we can’t fit them all in, or that we haven’t been able to follow through yet…so what should we do? Stop trying at all? Give them all up? Pause with me for a second. I think that I would feel less overwhelmed and more successful if I could follow my own advice and take baby steps. Forget the “Giant Steps” and the “Bunny Hops” and the “Zig Zag Steps”. They are all pointless and we will not cross the finish line first if in our rush we forget to say, “Mother May I?” and we have to go back again and again and again. I don’t want to start over…I don’t want to be close and loose concentration and have to repeat the same distance. A pause. A thought. A plan. Remembering to ask permission…May I? “Yes, you may.” And taking baby steps FORWARD. Moving with confidence forward…
I decided that my article today would focus on a few more of my favorite quotes from the book by Anne Lamott HELP, THANKS, WOW the Three Essential Prayers with my focus being on the “HELP” section. But first, I was determined to have my Resolute “God TIme”. My baby step forward. And the next Psalm to be read on my path happened to be Psalm 5. All I can say is “WOW!” ~
” Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my sighing. Listen to my cry for help ,my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell. The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong. You destroy those who tell lies; bloodthirsty and deceitful men the LORD abhors. But I, by your great mercy, will come into your house; in reverence will I bow down toward your holy temple. Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies– make straight your way before me. Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongue they speak deceit. Declare them guilty, O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them for their many sins, for they have rebelled against you. But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.” Thank you for making that clear…Thank you that there is no room for any misunderstanding!
I hear warning sirens! Red flashing lights are spinning, spinning, spinning. A mechanical non-gender voice over the loud speakers calmly announce: “Warning. Warning. Warning. Thirty seconds to self-destruct. Seek help. Seek help. Seek help Seek help…..”
Help. Help. Help, God! Consider my sighing for all of us that need you…and that is ALL of us. This is a cry for help from your children when enemies spread malicious lies and try to destroy…it is a plea for help that God will lead and direct our way so that enemies have no grounds for false accusations. We know that the tongue can be as deadly as the sword, and that only in God’s courtroom with God as Judge will truth prevail…but it will eventually prevail. I shutter to think that God would be so vengeful even to the worst of the worst. I do not seek vengence…but it is the harsh reality that God is not merciful on those that are evil and WHO DO NOT repent. Thank you God that you are forgiving and merciful… You know God that I do not wish for anyone to be punished. Evil people who cause their own downfall and then who are too arrogant to recognize their own peril are just a choice away from turning it all around! That gives me great hope! But no one can make that choice for them. To rebel is sin. To return would be cause to rejoice. That is my desire for all who have turned from God. As one “clod” to another…I don’t want you to wash away. I don’t want for you to blow away as chaff. Help, God! I want the lost to be who they were made to be…not just a promise or a possibility…not just unmet potential…but YOUR child, God, with a Purpose. YOUR purpose. In the mean-time…please God, keep the rest of us safe. Keep us protected and shielded and surrounded day and night from evil.
Consider the words of a prayer that Anne Lamott credits to a friend’s Jewish mother: “Help for the sick and hungry. home for the homeless folk. peace in the world forever. this is my prayer, O Lord. Amen.”
Now consider the words of a prayer that Anne Lamott describes as a prayer she wrote “that will do in a pinch: ~ Hi, God. I am just a mess. It is all hopeless. What else is new? I would be sick of me, if I were You, but miraculously You are not. I know I have no control over other people’s lives, and I hate this. Yet I believe that if I accept this and surrender, You will meet me wherever I am. Wow. Can this be true? If so, how is this afternoon – say, two-ish? Thank you in advance for your company and blessings. You have never once let me down. Amen.”
Another beautiful insight…”We learn through pain that some of the things we thought were castles turn out to be prisons, and we desperately want out, but even though we built them, we can’t find the door. Yet maybe if you ask God for help in knowing which direction to face, you’ll have a moment of intuition. Maybe you’ll see at least the one next right step to take…When we think we can do it all ourselves…We’re going to screw things up. We’re going to get our tentacles wrapped around things and squirt our squiddy ink all over, so there is even less visibility, and then we’re going to squeeze the very life out of everything. Or we can summon a child’s courage and faith…”
A new acquaintance told me a story of how she found herself running one evening through nearby woods and was so immensely happy and joyous at the freedom and the feeling of being fully alive that when she stopped running she lifted her hands and spun and spun and spun around in sheer bliss. But the moment was quickly over when the realized that she had gotten herself completely lost…and it would soon be dark… and with the darkness it would be cold. But with wisdom that comes from trust and a peace that passes understanding, she did not panic. She sat down on the nearest fallen log and waited until the sky turned dark. Only when it was dark did the lights from the nearby houses come on and then she could see to find her way back. That is a good and true story. Darkness doesn’t have to be a time of worry and anxiety and dread. It does not mean that the sky is falling,Chicken Little. It does not mean that God has deserted you. In fact, it could be that God wants you to KNOW that He is always with us…and that is why sometimes we HAVE to stop. The Way is always there. The Light is always there…but sometimes we have to look for it to see it.
Lastly, Anne Lamott says that she was raised by atheists but that her grandfather was a believer. “I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, with no proof, that my grandfather prayed for all of us kids. And as it turns out, if one person is praying for you, buckle up. Things can happen.”
Help? Will you pray for me? I can not do it alone. I am not an Island…we are all here together. Thanks in advance for your thoughts and prayers and well wishes. I will pray for you too. I may not know your needs or concerns or joys or hopes… but God does! THANKS and WOW again:) I am going to “buckle up” now because I KNOW that GOOD things are about to happen.
Thank you. Peace.