Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Prayer List

I'm on vacation. Have I mentioned that? No? Well, I guess I am. I mean, I think I'm on vacation.

Although, it is busiest time of year for me with shows, even though I haven't booked all that many, but my son is off school, my wife is on her holidays, and Mom comes in town later today.

So, what with making stock for shows, working said shows, and having a great time with family, I'm on vacation. That's why I'm not writing all that much here right now.

Besides, I have my week of articles coming up next week for my local newspaper, so I'm writing those, too.

But I didn't want you to feel like I've left, dear Reader. You're still in my mind, my heart, and my prayers.

Oh yes. Did I mention that, too? I have a prayer list, and I regularly say prayers for "my dear Readers".

Of course, I have no idea what that really means, in the larger sense of it, so I thought I'd explore that a bit today.

It means to me that I am thinking of you, and hoping for the best for you. I am asking God, and those spirits on high, to see you happy and healthy, coming to a fuller realization of the majesty and wonder of the world around you. I am asking for the well-being of both you and those you love, and hoping that you will share with me some of what you discover.

In the past, I have had some people say that they don't want me to pray for them, and I've honoured that request. But now that I think about it, it seems to me that is a bit unfair. What they are asking is that I don't think about them, and how can I possibly honour that? If they were to have said, "Please don't light a candle for me", sure. No problem. But to me, what I call prayer is a form of conversation with my Creator. I am talking to the One that I adore, and what am I most likely to talk about? Those I love.

"When a man falls in love with a human being, it is impossible for him to keep from mentioning the name of his beloved."

And I have a deep love for you, dear Reader, which is why I share my thoughts with you, and treasure hearing yours.

Aside: I am currently serving on a local Spiritual Assembly, which is not bragging in any way since there are only a dozen or so eligible Baha'is in this community, and we have a prayer list. Just the other day the question came up of how to maintain it, for it has seemed that when someone goes on the list, they never get removed. As you can imagine, it now takes quite some time to read the list before we say our prayers. What to do? I loved the simplicity of the solution that was suggested. When we say a prayer for them, cross them off the list, unless we know that the request is for a longer term such as in the case of prolonged illness.

For me, I have a number of actual people on my list, with names and all, and I can even remember their faces most of the time. Then I have the abstract people who are still real, but I have no idea who they are, such as "the ill" or "the poor". As often as I can I try to move people from being abstract to being real, in my own mind.

Another aside: A number of years ago, I was visiting a friend in another city and, as she was working during the day, I went out and did my thing (drank coffee, made chain-mail, talked to people). One evening, though, there was a Feast, and so I went. During the consultation, the question was raised about "helping the poor". It seems that they were having trouble making their goals with either a food bank, or something like that. I don't remember. For some reason it struck me that they were all talking in the abstract. These "poor" people weren't real, in a sense, to them. Oh sure, they could sympathize with the suffering, but it seemed to me that something was missing. And so I spoke up. I asked who these "poor"were, and was met with a sea of blank looks, or probably confused looks as I'm sure I wasn't really making that much sense.

I asked if anyone knew Otto, or Jane, or Spike. That did nothing to dispel those blank, or confused, looks.

Then I asked if anyone knew the guy that stood at such-and-such corner, with the army coat and the big dog. Or the girl with him who had the pink hair. Or the guy at the other corner in the wheelchair.

A light clicked as everyone knew them by sight.

"Well," I said, "that's Otto and Jane. The other guy is Spike. Spike is a vet from the Viet Nam War and he lost his leg. That's why he's in the chair."

I said that as long as we only dealt with "the poor", we would have trouble making our commitments. But if we helped Otto and Jane and Spike, our friends, then we would never have trouble making those commitments again.

And I think of you often.

I think about your comments, your concerns, and your insights.

I think about what I would like to share with you (like a piece of that blackberry pie my wife is making in the other room) (oops, distraction).

I look at the world around me as I'm walking around town, or traipsing through the Writings searching for nothing in particular. "Wow! A bird just swooped down and grabbed a bee", I might think. (True story. Just happened about 5 minutes ago outside my window.) Or maybe I'll run across a quote and say, "That's exactly what I want to include in this article today." (See above.)

So even though I won't be writing much here over the next week while my Mom is visiting, please know that you are in my thoughts and heart, and I will be jotting down notes of things I want to share with you.

In the meantime, get off the computer and go and enjoy the beauty of the outside.

Me? I'm going to enjoy a slice of pie.

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