Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Prayer

So, tell me, how is your commute? This snapshot is from a drive heading out of New Dehli on India’s national highway (OBTW, this is in the morning, going the opposite direction of most commuters ;-). In this particular photo, you cannot see the pedestrians, camel-drawn wagons, sacred cows wandering off the median strip, and occasional vehicle coming at you in your lane, but trust me, they are part of the commute too.

What’s my point? Only that everything is relative, of course. What you bemoan against, another would shout “hallelujah” for. And vice versa, of course.

And so, that leads me to this alternative “prayer”. I can't remember where I found this, and it did not come with any acknowledgement of the author. If you are tired of your usual prayers, or perhaps praying is not your thing, give this one a read and see what you think. Perhaps help open your eyes and your heart, and maybe even help you with gratitude. And that sounds like enough to me.

The Prayer
(author unknown)

Help us remember
that the jerk who cut us off in traffic
last night is a single mother who
worked nine hours that day and
is rushing home to cook dinner,
help with homework,
do the laundry and spend a
few precious moments
with her children.

Help us to remember that the
pierced, tattooed, disinterested
young man who can't make
change correctly is a worried
19-year-old college student,
balancing his apprehension
over final exams with his
fear of not getting his
student loans for next semester.

Remind us,
that the scary looking bum,
begging for money in the same
spot every day (who really ought
to get a job!) is a slave to addictions
that we can only imagine in our
worst nightmares.

Help us to remember that the
old couple walking annoyingly
slow through the store aisles
and blocking our shopping
progress are savoring this
moment, knowing that,
based on the biopsy report
she got back last week, this
will be the last year that they
go shopping together.

Remind us each day that,
of all the gifts we receive,
the greatest gift is love.
It is not enough to share
that love with those
we hold dear.

Open our hearts not to
just those who are
close to us,
but to all humanity.
Let us be slow to judge
and quick to forgive,
show patience,
empathy and

Or perhaps you'd like a shorter version ...

"If the only prayer you say in your whole life is 'thank you,' that would suffice." ~~ Meister Eckhart