~a column by Colleen O’Brien
Years ago, when I told a woman I couldn’t go to mass because my in-laws were coming in about then, she said, “I’ll pray for you.”
I was offended, thinking she was a little high and mighty, judging me, as if she thought I needed to be prayed on.
I was young and, if not stupid, at least naïve.
Anytime someone wants to pray for me now, for whatever their reason, I love it. I say thanks. I feel that I’ve received a gift. Even when I doubt the existence of God, I will take any prayer I can get.
Prayer is a form of love, of compassion, of thoughtfulness. It is pure goodwill.
Its very existence enhances the state of humankind. And humankind—in the broad sense of it and in the very individualness (as in each one of us) of it—is in great need of enhancement, up one side and down the other. We do such damnable things to each other,
I find it contrary to common sense that we have ever thrived and multiplied. But we have. And so often, no matter how we as individuals or nations have flourished, some of us manage to remain as nasty as we can to our fellows.
A friend sent me a form of prayer for oneself that she wished she’d given her children. Many things on the list hit me hard because I realized there was a someone in my life I needed to give the list to . . . a someone who because of his power could change the world for the better.
He is not my child. Maybe he was no one’s child he is so hurt. He needs all the compassion we can give him. Even prayers, which he thinks are lies.
Learn to be OK with mistakes. Learn to learn from them; all humans make mistakes daily. Learn to shrug them off so they don’t affect the deep inside of you—who you really are.
Open your heart. Be willing to take with an open heart the wounds that come with life, and you will experience the best of life.
Other people are amazing. Open your heart to them.
Success, selfishness, righteousness? These are not rules to live by.
Love family, friends, coworkers, strangers, your brothers and sisters in humanity.
Love even those who you think are your enemy.
Love the planet.
Most of all, love yourself.
If not all of us but just he alone, the person I direct these humane thoughts to, does even one of these things, the planet—and he—and we—will rejoice.