Sunshine On My Shoulder

Sometimes a day is so excruciatingly beautiful that I can hardly stand it. So lovely and melancholy at the same time that it brings pain or tears. This can happen without warning; in the best of times or the worst of times; whether or not I am stressed, pressed, or have nothing to do. It makes no difference whether I am in a relationship, ending a relationship, tense with teenagers, coworkers or utterly alone, “Sunshine, almost always makes me high,” as John Denver sang; and yes, it can make me cry also.

Captain Jack Leaves the Island

“But where’s the rum?” is an oft quoted line from Pirates of the Caribbean

It is doubtful Pirate Jack would have been willing to leave the island if the rum had not run out. I think that’s the way it is with most people, including me. We are reluctant to leave a bad job, relationship, house, church, country, you name it; until the thing we are most dependant on runs out; no longer exists. That thing can be money, security, affirmation, sex, or other significant or seemingly insignificant thing. When it runs out we finally find the courage to slough off all the debris of the launch stages that have supported us this far and rocket on toward who we are meant to be next.

But where’s the rum?

The Prayer that Never Fails

Father Tim and Cynthia are fond of praying it (the prayer that never fails) in Jan Karon’s Mitford series.
I was taught to pray something like it during my growing up years: “Thy will be done”
Trouble is, in my adult years it began to seem like a cop-out; a way that every prayer is always answered; whether one agrees with the outcome or not.  Come boldly to the throne of Grace became, “He’s going to do it His way anyhow, so why even ask?” Then the pendulum swung back the other way, “Name it and claim it! Believe and all things are yours!” After that came a number of difficult years in which I thought things through, decided what needed to happen, and then prayed specifically; pleaded, begged, bargained, and yes; tried to manipulate the behaviors of others through prayer. Finding myself impotent to control the wrong behaviors of significant people through my prayers; I regressed to “He’s going to do it His way anyhow, so why even ask?” I withdrew from the great conversation and left the Sovereign to run the universe His way.

The Prayer that Brings PEACE

It is hidden deep in the twelve steps of AA and other addiction groups and it has become, for me, the prayer that brings peace:

Pray only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out (Beattie, 1987, Codependent No More, p. 175, step 11b)

I am not an alcoholic, nor have I been married to one, so it was almost an accident that I found this step; nevertheless; it brings Peace. Peace from controlling, peace from manipulating, peace from striving to do everything in my own strength.

It is at once enlightening and empowering. It is like being gifted with a powerful flashlight and spyglass at the outset of a grand adventure. I, as the seeker of knowledge and truth, scramble around, poking in every nook and cranny for knowledge of His will and investigating the most outrageous places for the power to carry it out. He is after all, Omniscient and Omnipresent so one never knows where truth or power will turn up next.