“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.” ― Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude
Some days prayers come easy. Some days prayers literally bubble up and move through. They hold me in the midst and mess. They reassure my heart. They guide my feet. Some days with my prayers I feel a deep connection to God’s lovingkindness and to every living creature on the planet. Some days there is a rhythm that brings life and balance. Some days.
Some days prayers don’t seem to come at all. Fits and starts. Holding on’s far outweigh my letting go’s. My prayers feel either too big to hold a thought or too small to find even a breath. Some days my soul feels just too damn restless to stop to pray. To sit. To breathe. To listen. To wait.
Today feels like one of those days. So. Much. Noise. It’s hard to listen to the news of the day, let alone the news of the hour. And it’s hard to not listen. Disengaging with what is happening around in these never-before days feels dangerous, feels isolating, feels like giving up. But I gotta tell you, engaging in these days is a struggle for me as well.
Some days it’s helpful to listen out for someone else’s prayers. Today I am listening out for Thomas Merton. His first line, “I don’t know where I’m going” is enough. And he continues. “Therefore, will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost.” And he ends with words I am leaning into today with my heart and mind and soul, “for you are ever with me.” He published his book in 1956. 64 years ago, but words that resonate with what my heart feels today. I don’t know when he wrote this prayer. Or why he wrote this prayer. It is living in me today when my prayers feel like they are rambling and unrooted. This prayer with the desire to please God – even when, especially when I feel like my words fall so far short – the desire to please God does in fact please God. And this day, I am so very grateful.