Prayer of an Anonymous Abbess
by ― Margot Benary-Isbert
Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity.
Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples’ affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends.
Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.
Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains — they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing.
I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn’t agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.
Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint — it is so hard to live with some of them — but a harsh old person is one of the devil’s masterpieces.
Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so.
― Margot Benary-Isbert
Posted for Cin’s Feb Challenge/Witchy Rambles Day 6 – Pray
Jazzy discovered an Evil Squirrel’s Nest and her life will never be the same.
Evil Squirrel’s Nest’s First Annual Contest Of Whatever! “…..Your entry for this contest can have any subject matter you so desire…. but it must include at least one each of the following…..a squirrel, a possum and a unicorn.”
365 Writing Prompts January 6 – My Favorite: What’s the most time you’ve ever spent apart from your favorite person? Tell us about it.
I’ve got as many different favorite people in my life as there are reasons for having them so it’s not possible to come up with some finite time period to describe to you. Who keeps track of that kind of stuff anyway? An hour can feel like forever and years can pass by in the twinkling of an eye.
If there’s anything I’ve learned in this life it’s that everything changes. A high school teacher once told us, after a train accident (of all things) had taken the life of one of our classmates, that this was the time in our lives when we would start to experience the grief of death and loss, and that it would continue to get worse as we got older. Imagine that, life being even more depressing after high school. It starts much sooner for some of us of course, when a beloved grandparent or uncle or simply someone we assumed would always be around is suddenly physically gone.
But here’s the good thing about that. If we remember them, they never really leave us. Everyone we’ve ever met becomes a small part of who we are. I miss the physical presence of my mother but in every other way she is still with me. I think she will be inside me for eternity, in my head and in my heart. Maybe my eternity will last eighty years, or maybe it’s already into eons if my soul is as old as I’ve been told. That either matters or it doesn’t. Does time have to be measured?
Another thing I’ve learned is that the only one who will for certain be with me for the duration is me. I am the common denominator in this great math problem known as my life. So that should make me my all time favorite person and either a raging ego maniac or someone simply comfortable in her own skin. I can’t get away from myself, no matter what role I choose to play. Might as well like who I am with all the labels stripped away.
A casual friend tried to convince me once that the absolute worst and most feared state we face as human beings is to be alone. She is that person all of us have bumped into at some time or other who asks for our opinion so that she can go on and on at great length explaining to us why it is not only wrong but also stupid. I think that explains why we’re not really close. When I was silly enough to mention that I love my alone time, she just said, no, you don’t. Inconceivable that anyone could be on their own and happy about it.
Being alone was actually preferable to her company right about then, although I think she would have found that idea preposterous. Just a guess. But I do like my own company, I like the quiet and the stillness and how relaxed I feel when I’m being perfectly me with no one to impress or entertain or piss off with my dumb opinions.
If you have a favorite person and you hate it when that person goes away, that’s okay, but it’s also not something to get obsessed about. Things change. If that person never comes back, you will go on living. The hole in your life will fill back up and even though it will never be the same, it can still be good.
Well, is that enough blather for today? Enough of me talking to myself and wishing I would shut up already so I can go read a book or something? I think that’s a yes. See how agreeable I am? I love me.
“Normally we divide the external world into that which we consider to be good or valuable, bad or worthless, or neither. Most of the time these discriminations are incorrect or have little meaning. For example, our habitual way of categorizing people as friends, enemies, and strangers depending on how they make us feel is both incorrect and a great obstacle to developing impartial love for all living beings. Rather than holding so tightly to our discriminations of the external world, it would be much more beneficial if we learned to discriminate between valuable and worthless states of mind.” ― Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Transform Your Life: A Blissful Journey
The monthly peace challenge for November is “Love Thy Enemy“. Open your arms to your enemies. Think of a person, a place, a nation, a culture, a religion, a gender, or an ideology that you view as an enemy.
Enemy is a word I don’t like very much. For three days I’ve been trying to think of an enemy to embrace, feeling all smug and lucky that I don’t have one. Yes, I am often in La La Land and oblivious to many things. What exactly does it mean to have enemies?
I looked it up, thinking surely I must have missed the boat here if I can’t be all angry and hateful about something like other normal people. It’s a relativist term for an entity, whether an individual or a group, that is seen as forcefully adverse or threatening.
Relativism is the concept that points of view have no absolute truth or validity, having only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration.
In other less wordy words, sometimes the enemy is conjured up in our heads when we see life as black and white, good guys and bad guys, friends and foes. Sometimes it’s even a one-sided concept, and our perceived enemies have no idea they’re causing us frustration and grief. And I guess that’s how a person becomes their own worst enemy.
I don’t like this word because when you label a person or a group or a nation as the enemy, you give them power over you, and you set yourself up to become a victim. You begin to see them as the cause of all your problems. They hurt you, and you want to hurt them back in the same way. You hold a grudge and you want revenge. And suddenly you are no better and no different from the perceived enemy.
My parents taught me to be a good human being and to treat people with love, kindness, compassion and respect. Do unto others, turn the other cheek; practice tolerance, benevolence and forgiveness. Do I do all of these things all of the time? Hell yes!
Okay, no, of course I don’t. I try. But I also battle my fears, anger, misjudgments, narrow-mindedness and intolerance. Some days I win, some days I lose.
There have been some annoying people in my life that I couldn’t stand, who irritated the hell out of me, made me bitter and resentful, spiteful and unkind. I never thought of them as the enemy, but I guess I treated them as if they were exactly that. Am I proud of how I’ve acted? Did it make me happy? Nope.
The bad feelings are destructive and counterproductive and even if I thought I was keeping them all inside, I know they affected the people around me. Sending out those bad vibes is never a good idea because they always bounce right back.
It’s always easier to blame than it is to understand. It takes a lot less time to be mad at somebody than to try to figure out why they act the way they do. But grief and hatred and hurt are the enemies of love and happiness and peace. Every one of us is responsible for how we relate to the world around us. Every relationship is an important part of the whole. We think it doesn’t matter much if we hate something or someone but fear and anger and hatred spread until families and cultures and societies are infused with it. Am I adding to that when I let my bad attitude out to play?
Turning resentment and hatred into acceptance and love is a challenge. I have been challenged my whole life. I think I’m finally winning the race though. It took me three days, after all, to think up an enemy. It’s that little voice in my head that tells me it doesn’t matter what I do or how I feel. Because it does matter. Every one of us matters and we’re all in this together. So let’s be friends.
“In reality, there are no enemies; we’re all souls in growth, waking up”
― James Redfield The Tenth Insight: Holding the Vision