I've written all sorts of things this morning... and deleted them. Started again... and deleted that.
Easing back into the process of finding something relevant to write about is more challenging than I had hoped. I suppose it is like exercise or dieting or staying on a budget or keeping a tidy house full of wonderful and creative organizational skills... OUCH... even the thought is challenging ! So before my mind explodes I will simply say that along with making coffee, scooping poop, feeding kitties, getting dressed and glancing at the pond, my mornings include a quick Facebook check on all of my friends. What ultimately follows is joy, sorrow, concern, sighs of relief, smiles generated by babies and puppies, and a prayer.
I struggle with prayer. Not the conversation with God part of prayer, but the requests. I never prayed harder than I did for my child. She left this life anyway. I prayed for my husband when he suffered a heart attack, and he is still as trying as ever. I prayed for my friends Cathy and Donna and Sue and they joined Shannon. I prayed for my brother and I am incredibly grateful that he is improving every day.
I never felt that God wasn't listening or handing out favors to a select few, I simply questioned my understanding of prayer.
Facebook is always bringing prayer requests to many, from many. Some days my heart aches for everyone who is frightened or lonely or hopeless or helpless and the list is so long that I have to ask God to be sure and check Facebook for anyone I might have missed, knowing full well how ridiculous that must sound... even to God.
What I have come to know is that we can't change the course of another's path through prayer. I believe that Shannon was only meant to be on the Earth for 23 years and when the time came for her to depart, no depth of desperation in my pleading prayers could have changed that. Her little life touched more than she could have ever imagined and she did it all in 23 years. Then she got to go Home. She didn't choose the moment, she didn't plan the storm but accidents are just that. I had to love her enough to respect and trust and survive that that was her path, a path that was set in motion with her first breath. That even if she had missed the thunderstorm, had left Mom's at noon instead of three, had taken a different route home, or been driving a newer car with more safety features, it wouldn't have changed her destiny.
Now, when I see a request for prayer, I ask for healing, but if that isn't to be, I ask for peace. I have come to know that when we are sad or afraid, when we feel lost and alone, just knowing that there are others thinking about us, talking to God about us, sending love to us and those we love...gives us strength beyond our selves. We know that if we take a moment to fall apart or take a breath or have faith in hope... that there are others, holding us up, keeping our loved one in that safe place, no matter what the outcome.
So I suppose that is my most relevant thought this morning. If you are struggling, sad, frightened or challenged beyond what you can understand, you are not alone. Friends and strangers alike have immense compassion and when you share your hope, we rally to your side.