“Please keep them safe.”
“Don’t let her suffer.”
“I hope I can do this.”
“I wish I could . . .”
Aren’t these all prayers? And look again—none of them start with the words “Dear God.” The more often I talk and write about prayer, the more I learn that I’m not the only one doing it. Spiritual longing and cosmic answers come in all shapes and forms, and my instinct is that if we expand our definition of prayer, we would all have much more in common than we realize. This thought hit me like a brick recently, while I was sitting at Trinity Cathedral, looking at my favorite sign “Trinity Welcomes You, Really.” It occurred to me that no matter how well I treat strangers, I’m not working hard enough if I don’t treat all of my friends, neighbors and even my husband with the same unconditional acceptance and respect. After 14 years of marriage, I realized that I had more spiritual compassion for strangers than my own spouse. Because his beliefs are different than my own, I have never considered my husband to be a spiritual person. Looking back now, I can’t underestimate the impact this has had on our marriage and our family.
Why is it easier for me to see God in the face of a homeless man on the corner than to see my husband’s late-night guitar playing as a spiritual gift? I get angry (and sometimes down right mean) if he isn’t “open-minded” and “accepting of the world,” but all the while I have been holding myself above him. What if we began to think of every tear of grief and every soulful song as a prayer? Every birth of a child and each flower in the garden are miracles, and every breathtaking photograph is a window to the soul. We are all connected with the spiritual world, and the next step is to begin to see the power of our place in it.
In Cleveland today, many people who don’t think of themselves as spiritual are asking our community to respond with peace as we learn the verdict in the trial of Michael Brelo. The eyes of America are on us. We are asking for the insight to understand the truth and the strength to live peacefully with the outcome. This is all a prayer. So whatever spiritual energy you have within you, please share it with Cleveland now, so that we can unite and move forward toward the change we want to see in the world. Everyone prays, and today in Cleveland, it is a relentless prayer for justice and peace. Let it begin with me.