A Prayer For Healing, A Blessing In Disguise

By: Autumn Elizabeth, Editor in Chief 

Prayer for Healing, Blessings, Interfaith, weepingI have a friend who is in the midst of battling cancer, but this friend is just one of many who needs healing. Lately, I find myself praying for healing often, a little too often for my liking. My private prayer journal is filling up with friends asking for good thoughts as they heal from surgery, for strength as they heal from broken hearts, for spiritual healing for this broken world or simply prayers that they will feel the healing power of love as they struggle with death and dying. This is the prayer I say when I get these requests:

Dear God,

Give_____ what they need in abundance.

Let them feel the wholeness that comes from being loved,

because they are indeed loved.

Let them find a way to heal their wounds seen and unseen.

Let me find a way to help them the best I can.

Amen

This is a prayer of healing, but this prayer isn’t just about healing for others. By saying it so often, I have found a blessing there too, in disguise. In praying that others are healed, I am freeing myself from the awful feeling of uselessness that comes with loving those who are suffering, and for me feeling that I am doing something is a huge blessing.

i was not raised, neither by my church nor my family, to be useless, I was taught to serve, to help, to work, and to persevere. But in these recent times of so much hurt and suffering to those so near and so dear to me, I have often felt useless.

I struggle with questions like: What can I do to heal this world? How can I help when I am so far away? What use are my skills with words in times like these? But I have found that in praying for the healing of others, I too am healed. In praying for healing, I am blessedly useful. Thus, the prayers of healing I offer are, in some small way, my biggest blessings.

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The Back and Forth of Starting Over

By: Autumn Elizabeth

By some ways of looking at my life, I have spent the majority of the last few years starting over. Starting to reclaim a new spiritual path after my church refused to marry me and my partner, starting over with a new life in Europe after that unsanctioned marriage ended. But the truth is, I am not sure starting over is even possible.

Starting over spiritually has not meant giving up my lifetime of faith and starting fresh. On the contrary, starting over has led me both forward and backwards. I have rediscovered some of the beauty and radical justice buried in my Catholic heritage, and I have found deep wells of solace and a place to pray in my yoga practice. I have also kept a deep admiration for my church as they struggle to more radically embody the love of Jesus and move to embrace all types of love.

I think starting over is always about moving both backwards and forwards simultaneously. No matter how much someone hurts us, no matter how broken our hearts, none of us really forget, we keep tiny pieces of all the people we love in our hearts forever. For me, in times of heartache, starting over often looks a lot like going back to the people who knew me before my heartache, and it also often involves finding new relationships of love and support. So it seems, for me at least, that starting over is more a process of growing in wisdom and love than a process of erasing our past.

For me starting over has been a process of going back and moving forward. I am blessed to have found solace in both places. 2015 stands to be a big year for me in both directions. Looking to the future I will graduate from my master’s program, and I will celebrate entering a new decade of wisdom. Looking back, this site will turn two and my oldest friendship with turn 21. To me, this is what starting over looks like—it is the growing of new branches while my roots grow deeper too. This January, may your new year be rooted in all the blessing of your past, and all the possibilities of the future. Here’s to staring over, and to keeping all the wisdom we’ve already gained.

Coffee Break Prayer

In honor of our theme of Hunger, we will do a series of food-based prayers this month, including a Dinner Prayer!  Enjoy and don’t for get to submit your own prayers!

Dear Spirit of Divine Energy,

Give me a break.
Let me carve out a moment for myself.
Give me energy to move through my world,
todo the things I need to,
and those things I want to do too.
Let me have time to enjoy a hot drink with a loved one,
and let me be uplifted by that communion.
Help me give myself a break.

Amen

A Prayer for Strength

 

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Dear Universal Source of Strength,

We pray for the strength to listen to the burdens of others, and the strength to bear burdens of our own.

We ask for help in negotiating the fine line between personal strength and public aggression.

We hope the we show our own strength in the wisest of ways.

We pray for those who must summon strength all too often, those who battle, those whose suffering seems unfairly immense.

We hope that their strength is honored, not exploited.

We ask that you continue to show us the ways we can support the strength in those around us.

We ask for strength that comes from a friend’s hug, a warm cup of tea, and a good meal.

We hope that we find this strong support easily.

We pray for those for whom the strong support of loved ones is not available.

We hope that when we search ourselves for strength in times of trouble, we are able to find it.

We pray that when we cannot find it ourselves, someone does us the kindness of showing us our own strength.

We ask for the wisdom to recognize our own strength, even when it comes in quiet forms.

We pray that the strength of this world, this time, be a strength of compassion, love, and tenderness toward all things.

Amen.

Teaching and Beginnings: The Jägermeister and his Sidekick

Today we are honored to share another guest post from Laura Beth Eschbacher, a freelance English teacher and translator living in Kleinbottwar, Germany.  While recounting the beginning of her work as an English teacher, she gives us wisdom about friendship, life, and the ways we can celebrate beginnings and endings.

Just over a year ago, I began my first corporate teaching assignment at an automotive garage supply company near Stuttgart. I remember I dressed very professionally that morning and nervously made my first 1.5 hour commute by bus, train, and then by foot through the snow and gray sludge to their office building. There were two students in the group: a round-bellied, jolly German sales director with kind eyes and grown children; and a handsome, thirty-something jokester sales manager from Macedonia with a 5-year-old son and a wife who likes to shop.

Over time, I would discover that they were coworkers and best friends – the Black Forest Jägermeister and his comedic, fast-talking sidekick, both very professional and both very bad at English.

As we wrestled with grammar over the next year, my own teaching skills improved and I got to know them better. We fought the never ending battle of simple past versus present perfect: “Did you go hunting in Sweden, or have you gone?” In the Marketing chapter, I walked them downstairs to the storefront and we discussed the underlying messages of cardboard cut-out pinup girls holding radiator fluid and showcasing the latest windshield wipers. In the Sales chapter, they taught me about gross and net profits while I corrected their if-clauses: “If we hadn’t met this year’s target turnover, we wouldn’t have had such a big Christmas party.”

I learned that both are devoted family men. I learned that they look out for each other; if the sidekick forgets a name at a company event, the hunter comes to his rescue. If they go out to dinner with a customer, the hunter tries the food first to make sure it is pork-free for his Muslim buddy. If a coworker is chatting aimlessly away to one of them, the other walks past and says, “Don’t forget our important meeting in five minutes,” offering a perfectly rational excuse to interrupt the conversation.

Last Friday, on our one year anniversary as teacher and students, the sidekick broke the news to me that he was promoted within the company and is moving up to Düsseldorf in two weeks. “We have one more class, and you can say to me goodbye.” I asked them who will finish each other’s sentences in the future. The hunter replied gracefully that the promotion was a good opportunity and that he was happy for his sidekick, but he would now need a new colleague… and a new friend.

After a year of this group refusing to see any teacher other than me, we are now unsure whether they will continue the course.

I’ve heard from other teachers that you never forget your first students. These two fun-loving salesmen were my first corporate class. They were the providers of many a humorous Tweet quoting non-native speaker mistakes. They were an inseparable pair of best friends who thought I was a great teacher before I even thought I was a teacher. If they are starting new chapters now, perhaps it’s time I began one, too.

A Crazy World

Today’s post on loss comes from A Syrian Girl, who writes from the midst of a war zone.  Like many many people in Syria today, she knows a great deal about loss. In her post, she shares the pain of loss, the wisdom of friendship and her honest request for prayers.

Being a Syrian and going through a lot during this hideous war, I have lost hope for anything good in this life. I don’t think that there is a single Syrian who lives inside Syria who hasn’t lost a dear person from his/her family or friends, a house, a neighborhood, or even a city. And the story that surrounds these losses is always too ugly.

The story that I’d like to share is about a friend of mine. His name is Elias Salloum. He was forced, like lots of young Syrian men, to fight with the government army. Till the unfortunate day came, it was on November 5th, 2012. Elias was fighting along with his fellow soldiers in Doma (the Damascus countryside) and was shot in his stomach and passed out. The only soldier who was near him had to move on and leave the place.

When he came back the next day with a group of soldiers to collect the injured and the dead, to his surprise, Elias was missing.  No one could figure out if Elias was dead or alive or how he became missing. As of today, Elias is still missing. His family had a memorial service for his soul, and is acting as if he’s dead.

"I am worried that I will knock on your door and find no answer" - Fairouz

“I am worried that I will knock on your door and find no answer” – Fairouz

Elias was a very good person and loved by everyone who knew him. I asked him once for a favor, and he helped me. He took me in his car, putting himself in great danger, to take me back to my home  in 2011. I ask that everyone who reads this story pray for Elias, even if he’s dead. Some of his friends still believe he’s alive. I certainly hope so.

As Big as the Universe

By: Jenni Taylor

Let’s play the I want game.

Okay, he said.
I want to reach the stars and feel them glow in my hand. I want to blow through my window curtains like the wind and separate into tiny particles all over the world.
Want me to throw your dust out the window after you die? he said.
I guess that’s the closest I’ll get.

Let’s play the I want game.
Fine, he said.
I want to be bigger than the earth. I want to see the tiny specks of people from where I am, floating above them, and to see the puzzle pieces of their lives laid out in a beautiful, sad picture. I want to float and be big, so big, big enough to hug the universe.
And who will hug you? he said.
You’ll have to be there with me, and be a little bit bigger than I am.

Let’s play the I want game.
Alright, he said.
I want everyone to be happy. I want people to stop being cruel to each other. I want the meanness to be sucked right out of the bullies in every playground and government office. I want children to smile and grandmas to sit in nice rocking chairs. I want tears to go away forever and ever.
I know, he said.

Let’s play the I want game, he said.
Okay.
I want all the sad things in this world to make you cry, cry so hard your tears water your own roots and make you grow, grow, grow- bigger than the universe. I want those tears to make you hug the world the way you want to. I want those tears to make you hold the stars with wonder and give hugs the size of time. And when you get that big, your smile will grow so bright it will light up the milky way.

Really? I said.
Yes.
Okay. Hug me.

Loose Thread: Touching Moments

Today’s Loose thread is about moments that touched your soul this week.  

So tell us….What moment touched you this week?

Jenni: I recently moved to Shanghai to work as an intern before starting the school year as a teacher in the fall. Being an intern means all the non-fun parts of teaching- grading, power point making, grammar worksheets, etc. My only interaction with students occurs for one hour of tutoring with different students every day after school. Earlier this week during lunch break, I ran into a 5th grader I tutor. “Miss Taylor!” she shouted, and waved me over to watch her and her friend do tricks on the monkey bars. I cheered them on and clapped when they were done. As I walked away, I heard her friend ask, “who’s that?” “That’s my tutor, Miss Taylor!” my student said, in the excited, proud sort of way that warms your heart. It was a simple interaction, but it was enough to remind me why I teach and that boring office work won’t last forever.

Autumn: This week I went to a German beer festival with several friends. It was an amazing intergenerational experience of people from 16-80 singing songs and dancing together. The night ended with a series of group hugs. During one hug I was literally stuck in the center of a group of about 8 people. I couldn’t move and wasn’t even properly standing, I was being simultaneously supported and overwhelmed by my friends. I occurred to me after I freed myself and regain my breath, that that is what deep love is like, it is both totally overwhelming and totally supportive. 

How were you touched this week?