A Prayer for Good Works

“Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe you must become its soul.” – Coretta Scott King

Greetings from Texas. If you’re not here, you’re seeing our strength. But you should know, it’s so much worse than it seems, even to us. This week the need will increase, the body count will go up as the roads open for search and rescue and, for practically all of us, the rush of survival will end and the trauma will settle in. 

I can be a sensitive person. The only way I feel better in this is reminding myself I’m not alone. Most days just to face the day with the intensity in which I can see it, I have to talk to God before I’m even out of bed. I ask that loving energy orb to please help me just accept what I can’t control today, as white hot as the pain of it feels. To please help me find the guts (and focus and time management skills) to make a difference where it’s possible. And, finally, to please remind me how it feels to know for sure the right thing to do. To paraphrase: serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference. 

This week in Texas, if you weren’t working around the clock to survive you were working around the clock to try to help the ones barely surviving. I hope I did some good things, but they didn’t feel good. Seeing so many people victims to the failure of a system we trust as good citizens is heartbreak. Seeing the continually downtrodden – the small restaurant owners, the mothers, the essential workers – be the ones to again make up for the abandonment of paid leadership makes me feel sick. Anything I offered up this week was only in the sad acceptance of our situation and what I could not change at the time. 

With so much suffering existing purely at the neglect of one’s fellow man, even the good works do not feel good to me. Even my immense gratitude drowns in the sadness that it’s mere circumstances that will send me home to my bed while others lose everything they have. I am no better mother or person than the one who tucked her son into bed and woke up to him frozen to death. My access to heat or clean water is not related to my worthiness, only my privilege. Tonight my heart is so broken. I am praying to God for courage and wisdom to show me my role in making a world where there are no saviors, only equals. I’m sharing it here in case your heart is feeling like mine, so down and a little unsure of what even to ask for. 

God, in times like these, please relieve me of my pride. Rid my heart of the evil temptation to parade my privileges in philanthropy and rugged individualism when I should be fighting for equal abundance. Show me how to choose my neighbor every day, not only when I’m seen for it. When I make sure my neighbor has a blanket, make me also work to ensure our equal right to public health, education, dependable infrastructure, mental health care, child care and climate health. On this Ash Wednesday week, ready me to burn the bridge to “before.” Assure me that in this suffering and brokenness, we are building something new. To dust let it all return while you open our hearts and imaginations to how we can create something to the radical levels of your possibilities, making earth as it is in Heaven. 

No more words without deeds. No more deeds without doing something. No more votes for morals over your corporal works of mercy. No more votes for hoarding personal wealth to look like the good guy when we send our cast offs down the hill. Make our souls like yours and give us courage to create a society that reflects it. 

God, bring the brokenhearted ready to do something together. Give us courage and wisdom and lots of other help. We are cracked open. Put us back together the right way. I beg you.

Thy will be done, and I hope it’s fast. More people have asked me how they can help than I deserve, and I guess I just needed someone to listen. Know tonight that I’m praying for you, and please say one for me if you think of it. Amen. <3

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