It’s miserable to be a hater. I pray to be more like Jesus with his mad compassion and reckless love. Some days are better than others. I pray to remember that God loves Marjorie Taylor Greene just the same as God loves my grandson because God loves, period. God has no app for Not Love. God looks beyond the terribleness of each person to the needs of each person. God loves them as they are. God is better at this than I am.
I pick up one of my adult Sunday School kids who is in ICU with anorexia. I beg God to intervene, and she does, by finding a wonderful nurse for my girl later that day. (Nurses are God’s answer 35 percent of the time.) My prayer says to anyone who might listen, “I care about her and have no idea what to do, but to hold her in my heart and pass her on contribute to something better than me.” And I’m told what to do next — make her one of my world-famous care packs — overpriced socks, a journal, and needless to say, communion elements tailored to her: almonds and sugar-free gum. It’s love inside wrapping paper.
Especially when I travel, I talk to so many people who are absolutely undone by all the misery of the world, and I can do nothing for them but listen, have compassion and offer to pray. I can’t change politics, or war, or the climate, but by listening, by opening my heart to someone in trouble, I create with them more love, less grip in our little corner of the universe.
When I take the stage for a talk or an interview, I pray to say words that will help those in the audience who feel the most defeated. When I interviewed Hillary Clinton in Seattle a few years ago, we prayed this prayer huddled in a behind-the-scenes corner—to bring hope to the hopeless.
Do I really think these kinds of prayers were answered and helpful?
On good days, I feel (slightly) more neutral towards Ginni Thomas and the high school coach who prays after the games. I pray all day long the great thanksgiving for my gloriously messy family, husband and life; for my faith, my sobriety; for nature; for all that is still there and still works after so much has been taken from us.
When I’m most upset or self-righteous victimized, I go for a walk, another way to put my feet up in prayer. I pray for help, and in a dimension beyond my mind or language, I relax. I can breathe again. I say, “Thank you.” I say, “Thank you for the same flowers and trees and ferns and cacti that I pass every day.” I say, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”