How can you pray when you are frightened, angry, hurt or grieving? I wish I had a good answer for that. Today when my heart is clouded and I feel completely ineffective I am praying through the love of my friends. They are holding me up to God when I don’t have the strength to do so. I try to remember that my efforts and my virtues do not change the amount of love in the world, the amount of strength available for hard times. God is with us, bidden or unbidden, and God’s strength is available for the asking.
Sometimes I’m too proud to ask my friends to carry me when I’m weak, and sometimes my pride says that my problems are too insignificant to ask for help. But what I’m really saying is I don’t want to admit my neediness--I should be able to manage my own life. But can any of us really do that?
In my work I hear stories from patients every day about frustrations, disappointments and fears, and I tell every one of them that feeling off balance and out of control is normal after a heart attack or surgery. They are ashamed of their weakness and vulnerability but it is actually a good thing. People who admit having met the limits of their own resources can learn new ways of behaving, of coping, of healing, while those who insist on “toughing it out” and never being vulnerable have a lot more trouble recovering in the long run.
So when I don’t know how to fix the world around me, or how to help my grown children work out solutions to their dilemmas, or how to find a way through my own dilemmas, it is time for humility. To trust God to take care of what I can’t in ways I can’t even imagine. Sometimes God looks like a text from a far away friend sending an encouraging greeting. Sometimes God looks like the young driver giving a dollar to the beggar at the stoplight. Sometimes God looks like a walk around the neighborhood and smells like autumn leaves and sounds like a biting wind. Often God looks like the smile of a friend, a sympathetic hug, a glass of cool water.
We are not alone in this life; we are here with and for each other. Let us remember to be prayer “on the hoof” for those we love when they need us. Let us be humble enough to ask for help when we need it. The way through life is truly challenging and we need to be kind and gentle with ourselves and others.
Blessings on your journey, Eileen J Terry
Eileen is a Celtic Way supporter & contributor read more about her here.