On Answered Prayers and Stubbornness

June 19, 2009 · 1 comment

So let’s continue the theme of yesterday’s post, shall we?  Sometimes I wonder if this blog isn’t some kind of fancy-dancy prayer service of mine. 

I’m extremely grateful for the good advice that was offered to me in yesterday’s comments.  I’ve got two things on my mind:  how my prayers are answered, and my own stubbornness.

I’m also going to talk about god a little bit (I may also interchange this liberally with ‘the goddess’).  I’m still agnostic and all that, but sometimes it’s just easier to use the word ‘god’ for semantical purposes.  That is, it makes it easier for me to get my point across without constantly qualifying my statements, as I am wont to do anyway.  Feel free to substitute your own word for my three-letter choice at whatever time you feel you’re picking up what I’m putting down.  Fate or luck are very close to what I’m describing, but, as I said, I don’t want to get too far into semantics right now.

Most of this is going to end up being metaphorical, but wtf, that’s kind of what I do.  If you don’t get it, that’s ok, you’re probably not meant to.  No hard feelings – either way, I hope.

I walk a certain kind of path that I don’t really talk about here – and I’m not going to go into detail about it here and now.  Suffice to say that part of this path involves helping others along at certain times.  And with that come successes and failures – not mine and not theirs, and not really successes and failures exactly:  It’s really more of particularly fortunate days interspersed with some unfortunate or unpleasant ones.  In either or any of these cases, helping others along is intensely rewarding.

Over the last two years or so, I’ve noticed a kind of pattern:  as soon as I loose a prayer for a woman in my life – as I did to a certain extent in my last post – the goddess puts one of these others in my path.  It’s almost as if she’s saying “Not yet, Ted, but here’s a good way for you to stay occupied in the meantime”.

About 8 hours after I published yesterday’s post, I received a text message from a friend of mine – one from whom I hadn’t heard in a couple of months.   The last time I heard from him, he had asked me for help walking the path I walk, and I assented.  Then a few months passed with no word from him.  He asked me to meet him to talk, and I once again assented.  Long story short, we’re back where we left off, and it looks like the few hours a week I’ve been spending feeling lonely will once again be filled.

While I don’t think my prayer could have been much more specific, I think the goddess probably gets a kick out of filling the request behind the request.  Or rather, that what I want isn’t necessarily what she wants for me – and maybe not what’s best for me either.

The charge I get out of helping these others along this path is pretty indescribable.  And it’s really good for me, too, because it reminds me to keep reaching for the person I can be and want to be .

To paraphrase the first mystery (or whatever) in that new age hooey book The Celestine Prophecy “there are no coincidences”.  Or maybe closer, “pay attention to the things you think are just coincidences”.  Here’s the reading from my God Calling meditations reader from this morning:

June 18

Wait

The world has always seen service for Me to be activity.  Only those near to Me have seen that a life apart, of prayer, may, and does so often, accomplish more than all the service man can offer Me.

If man lived apart with Me and only went out to serve at My direct command, My Spirit could operate more and accomplish truly mighty things.

Anybody else get the vibe of “sometimes it’s ok to be a hermit”?  That’s how I read it this morning – and I felt a little better for it.

So that’s it for the prayers being answered aspect.  I know I’m being vague, but if I get more specific, we’ll be sure to see another “Scott hit with wall of text” comment – and we can’t have that, now can we, dear reader?

So.  On to my own stubbornness:

There’s a prayer with which I’m sort of intimately familiar.  I don’t have it memorized, though the thought’s crossed my mind a few times.  In some circles, it’s called the St. Francis Prayer.  It’s called other things in other circles, but that’s what I’m going to go with here.  It was written by St. Francis of Assisi and goes like this:

Lord, make me a channel of thy peace – that where there is hatred, I may bring love – that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness – that where there is discord, I may bring harmony – that where there is error, I may bring truth – that were there is doubt, I may bring faith – that where there is despair, I may bring hope – that where there are shadows, I may bring light – that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.  Lord, grant that I may seek to comfort rather than to be comforted – to understand, than to be understood – to love, than to be loved.  For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.  It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.  It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.  Amen.

I’m currently listening to some live Led Zeppelin – we’re at the end of Dazed and Confused and it’s just flying along.  It felt really good to type that out with my fingers in time with John Bonham’s beat.

There’s lots of good stuff in that prayer that helps me to remind me to watch out for my ego.  The one thing that rings particularly true – and that I pray often, because I need nothing short of divine help in this area – is “grant that I may seek…to understand [rather] than to be understood”. 

That’s a big problem for me.  I’m stubborn.  If you’re not picking up what I’m putting down, I’ll pick it up and put it down again.  Then I’ll pick it up, fold it into a nice little origami turtle and put it down again.  Then I’ll pick it up, bunch it up, and throw it down – hard.  Et cetera.  I have a desire to be understood that’s exacerbated by my stubbornness.  And it can be pretty embarrassing sometimes.

People on Twitter right now are shading their avatars green to support democracy in Iran.  I noticed the green shading about a week or so ago, but haven’t spent much time on Twitter, so today was the first day that I actually found out what it meant.  I posted a couple of snide remarks, stemming from my own (fairly disgusted) apolitical views.  Apolitical, I said.  I’m not into politics or government in any way, shape, or form.

But I sure like to argue.  And I sure like to needle people.  Unfortunately, DarthTraya was one of the few who were paying attention to my tweets today – because she’s a friend.  Unlike me, DarthTraya has some pretty strong political views.  And I chose to needle her a bit about it.  Which wasn’t really all that nice – I wasn’t trying to be mean, but I could tell that I was getting her dander up a bit. 

This isn’t about whether my views (or lack thereof) conflict with DarthTraya’s, but rather that what my ego really wanted to do was get into an argument and convince her of the righteousness of my apoliticality.  I’m glad that I was handicapped by the 140 character limit on Twitter and that the combination of the character limit and my tendency toward loquaciousness frustrated me enough to break off the conversation.  I shouldn’t screw with the views that others hold dear, and I was well on my way to doing that today.  With a friend.  I’m sorry, DarthTraya.  I know I didn’t hurt your feelings or anything, but that still wasn’t right on my part.

I’ll leave the substance of my apolitical views for another post.  Believe you me, dear reader, it’s something I don’t think I’ll have a problem expressing.

In any case, partly in an attempt to avoid the aforementioned Scott-comment, and partly because it’s getting to be past my bedtime, I’m going to wrap this up:

My experience on Twitter this afternoon was a good reminder to me that I can still struggle with my ego’s desire to be understood.  And it was but one reminder:  My temptation to respond to the comments to yesterday’s post with something starting along the lines of “but you don’t understand…” was great.  By which I mean that I was greatly tempted.

The next couple of posts may be pretty easy ones for me, dear reader.  I do have some things to say in response to yesterday’s comments – though not necessarily in rebuttal.  In a sure-to-fail attempt at brevity:  I have considered the possibility that I’m waiting for my “ideal mate”.  That said, I think TNR’s advice was particularly poignant:  I am going to make a concerted effort to be less independent in the future.  Hopefully, one of the next few posts will be written from a local SBUX (though, by “local” I mean somewhere that’s likely to have chicks my age in it – like maybe Hoboken). 

So that’s it.  A two-paragraph wrap-up isn’t too bad.  Maybe I didn’t fail at the whole brevity thing after all.  ;-)

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Tomers June 19, 2009 at 10:39

Uh… the Hoboken Starbucks is more likely to have chicks your age 10 years ago in it. But, hey, they’re still chicks. And I don’t have any better advice, so have at it.

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