05-22-05: holy holy holy

I consider myself a very spiritual person, though I don't consider myself to be religious. I always take the things we say in church with a grain of salt: I am very careful about what I'll say "Amen" to, and what lines in the Creed I'll actually say. As such, I've always looked at commonly-spoken prayers with a cautious eye.   Ho hey ho, don't wanna be on the hook for something I don't believe. Not only for my own sake, but I don't want to cheapen the belief system of the people who truly believe. Make sense?

Last weekend at Don's funeral we read that prayer attributed to Saint Francis. I had heard it a bunch of times over the years, but I hadn't heard it in my adult life so I never read it with my thinking cap on. I did last weekend, and it rocked my world. I think I need to have it tattooed on my arm.

Make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

OK, dunno about that eternal life thing, but I'm happy with the prayer even with that last line left off. Eternal life would be groovy (assuming, ya know, I don't get sucker punched in the solar plexus for all eternity... ha), but I'm not sure if I'm ready to commit to having that line tattoed on my arm. (Don't worry, I'm not really getting a tattoo. Settle down now.)

With the emotional roller coaster I've been on, that prayer has really given me center. It's basically telling me: When I'm hurt, let me take the high road and act from a place of love and goodness and positivity. Play nice.

Another line of a prayer I like is the Episcopal confession thing. Catholics do the one-on-one confession with the priest deal, and the priest then absolves you of your sins after you do penance of some kind. Episcopals just make you say a few really well-written lines and fwam, you're forgiven. Anyhoo, one of the lines is, "...we have sinned against you, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone." This strikes a chord with me every week: It's not only our stupid actions that screw us, but it's also our inactions. Our failure to act. Our choosing to do nothing.   Yeah. Apathy is a sin... who knew? It always felt unhealthy and uncool to me, but it is also soooo easy to fall into. Like percoset abuse. :-)

ButlerJon posted something in his LJ where he quoted that "wisdom to know the difference" prayer thing. Again, I've seen that written 1000 times but never actually read it with the intent to understand what the heck it was saying. Wow, it's really a powerful thing. When I saw it the other day, I almost fell out of my chair.

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

I wish I heard this a long time ago. This prayer, in effect, gives you permission to give up. Yes, you can cash in your chips and go home. You don't have to finish the 72 ounce steak. Consider it quitting while you're ahead, saving yourself the trouble. It's OK.

Ngggk: I sound like a self-help jesus-freak nutcase.   I'm just trying to keep it together.

Anyway, there's tons more to update on (Durkin, cool arrangements and gigs, trip to L.A., new cool pal, the pyre/meltdown, sam's amazing performance at knappuccino's, etc.) but I'll save it for tomorrow. I'm gonna try to get back to posting here as opposed to LJ; I'm taking a little LJ break. Less traffic here = a good thing.