I Will Pray for You

I do believe in a higher power but not a traditional God. I believe in the universe. I believe the universe will provide for us in the sense that we’ll get what we give, it will keep us safe and is far more powerful than humans will ever be individually or collectively.

I feel saddened by the world. The citizens of the world are angry, the citizens of my home country, America are the angriest I can recall in my life time, Mother Nature is angry as if she’s lashing out against us in the form of global crisis.

The universe will not protect us if we continue to treat one another in the way we have been and I have to accept I have no control. I’m only one person. I can’t change our current situation alone yet I feel I have a personal responsibility to try. I can continue to do what I believe is the right thing, but it’s never enough. Because of this, I feel heartbreak and guilt.

Unsure what to do, feeling hopeless, helpless and lost, I did something I’ve never done before.

I went to church. I had no idea what I was looking for. Whether it was answers or hope, or some form of a sign. I had no preconceived expectations. Only willingness and openness, so I thought.

My husband goes to church with his parents each Sunday. Raised Catholic he believes in a God I struggle with. I admire my husband because in a time when religion has become political he lives by his own thoughts, ideas and opinions while remaining true to his faith.

We arrived early and my husband began to pray once we were seated. Having no previous church experience I followed his lead. I knelt down next to him and began to pray.

Before the service started I put my hand on his leg and told him I prayed for the people to find it within themselves to keep one another safe. I prayed for the lives lost and those who continue to suffer. I prayed for the greater good.

My husband told me he thanked God for all he has, for our family and the opportunity to spend time with his parents.

“Wow, I’m lame,” I said. “I didn’t even think about being thankful.”

“What you prayed for was selfless. I was selfish,” he responded.

I live in abundance. I have all I need to survive, a family who loves me and a safe home. I have the ability to learn and grow as a person, and connect with others. It feels wrong to be so blessed and not wish that for others.

It wasn’t long after the service began that I felt unease. The priest opened with a discussion against abortion because “we have been murdering children for forty years since abortion became legal.”

I leaned in close to my husband. “Not only have we been murdering children far longer than forty years we’ve been doing it by means other than abortion. Child abuse, abduction murder and accidental gun death statistics are off the chart. There’s also war and terrorist organisations who raise their sons to be suicide bombers. The number of ways children are being murdered goes a long way past the et cetera. It’s literally what I prayed would stop happening,” I whispered.

“Shh. We’ll talk later,” he responded.

“Not to mention that our constitutional rights should not be discussed in church.”

He stood in unison to sing with the rest of the group and I got up and left. I sat down on the front steps outside the church. ‘Willingness and openness?’ I got fired up and then shut down, my typical behavior. Realizing this prompted me to question myself for leaving. “I had come with a purpose, hadn’t I?” I did. The purpose was for the greater good, something much bigger and more meaningful than myself.

When I went back into the service I stood at the back of the church while listening to the priest. He spoke of a god who wants us to be our best selves and live happy and healthy lives. “We are not to serve him,” he said. “He is to serve us.”

I wonder, if he is to serve us then how could he allow the world to turn into the modern day suffrage it has become and at the same time, why can’t we find it within ourselves to choose a right path?

By no means is the entire world a horrible place just as it isn’t perfect. As I prayed for the greater good I prayed for good to overcome evil.

I’m not sure I found what I needed that day but I did learn that I can’t set the expectation on others to have hope if I don’t have hope myself. I wouldn’t have gone to church if I didn’t believe in that.

Whether it be to the universe or to God, I will pray for you.

Newspaper reporter in Eastern Iowa. The views expressed are mine alone.

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