Well, I think that I need to just refocus and keep moving every time I backslide. There’s no point in pretending I’m close to being a saint, but there’s no good that can come from giving up and returning to purely secular interests for the next several months.
I need to start with the things for which I’m grateful, in no particular order of importance.
I am grateful for L and A. They are the primary reason for me wanting to change and become somebody so much better than I’ve been. They sustain my happiness when it starts to flag to those places where hope doesn’t live.
I am grateful for my dad. In spite of his character flaws and shortcomings, he has given me a lot of practical instruction that comes up automatically when I am trying to fix something or put something together. The Internet may be a wonderful place to learn how to do new things, but I don’t think that it will ever take the place of oral instruction. The oral tradition of generations must continue.
I am grateful for my dog and even my wife’s cat who is now my cat as well. These are little gifts from God who mostly seek to show us our better sides. Their intentions may be purely survival-based–they have learned to get more food the more affectionate they are–but I think these little things want to love and be loved like people. For that matter, how much of our affection and warmth comes from God and Love and a pure conscience and how much of it is purely survival-based and calculating?
I am grateful for the opportunity I have to get better and become the person God intended me to be. I am going to have to accept that I will have great days and bad days, but no day should ever be bad enough to make me give up and start watching CNBC and take a job as a Financial Services Rep, unless, of course, God provides discernment that this is the correct next step for my professional life.
I am grateful to be living in the U.S. during a relatively peaceful and prosperous time in our history. I could sit around and imagine how any given era in our history was better, but they were probably always better for only a few select kinds of people–and not even I would be included in that group in spite of my skin color and gender due to the fact that I am of average looks, physical ability and intellect and my eyesight is terrible.
I live in an era where the U.S. is extremely prosperous to the point that we are collapsing under our own abundance and we will likely falter and stumble as a civilization unless we turn back to some of our basic founding principles, minus the ones that allowed for slavery and genocide of Native Americans and mistreatment of women.
I am grateful to have my health and be of enough sound mind to write these words using technology that is better than any technology writers before me have been able to access.
For the “praying of others”, I pray for the safety and health of little L and A. I pray for the health and safety of my Dad, A’s parents, my brother, and my Aunt B and her family. I pray for the continued healing of the little boy C, and the young man R who was badly beaten to the point of being in a near-vegetative state. I pray that the people of IS, and all of the people I’ve connected with over the years on Facebook, will continue to find prosperity and move toward forgiveness of me and others who have slighted them.
I pray for those who have mistreated me, whether they intended to or not. I pray that they will find a way to listen more closely to God and pay more attention to those around them who are suffering.
I want to send out love to many souls, but first, I must pray for forgiveness of my own sins of lust, anger and judgement of others. I pray to God that if anyone at all is still chafing at something I did or said to them that He will shine a light of forgiveness on their hearts so that they might reconcile and move on. I pray to God that if I still hold any bitterness, anger or judgement in my heart toward others that He immediately remove it, and send those spirits that represent these terrible emotions and feelings away from me.
I want to send a circle of love out, starting with my neighbors who live around me. Love for C and C, love for G and his wife, love for the couple across the street, love for MH, love for M and her family, love for M and A, love for the family that lives next to them, love for the people with the little girls and the dog B, love for the other neighbors up and down the street whom I barely know. Please forgive me, Lord, for thinking ill thoughts about them just because their political views and interests do not align with mine.
I want to send love back in time to even ST and CP and CS. Please remove all anger in my heart toward them, the people of B, JG and anyone else I spoke ill about. Please let my love reach everyone I have met working at IS, K, MZ (including JN and all of the E people), please forgive me for being so snide and condescending toward young people who might have been rude because I looked older due to my gray hair.
I want to send my love back even further in time to the people of C, and J–please put something inside of her heart, Lord, to make her see how deceptive and foolish atheism is, and that she couldn’t possibly have the love she does of her family without You. Please do the same for JT from UW, and everyone else at UW who were atheist/humanists that didn’t believe you were needed for good to be done in the community.
I want to send love to the people of my current church, and please forgive me for having ill will and bad thoughts toward some of them. I must learn to accept that they are immersed in a culture that is different from the ones I’ve been a part of, if only by degree, but still enough to mean that they are not ever going to see things the way I do. Please send my love to all who attend my church, but also to the souls who live in the hotel across the street who do not feel welcomed by my church. Please send my love out to the people who attended my previous church, as well as MF who ran the R and was probably saddened or at least deeply disappointed when I never returned to that church.
Please send my love out to those ladies I’ve dated, and forgive me for not treating them better and handling the end of those relationships better. Please let them find a place of forgiveness if they still harbor any bitterness or anger toward me. Please forgive me for all of the times I have sinned with those whom I knew I would never marry.
Please send my love to my Dad and heal his broken heart. Give him the strength to face his emotions so that he will learn to accept his wife’s death and grieve properly to move on to a more stable place in his life where he can be productive in his final years. If it pleases you, please send him someone who is Christian, but someone he can fall in love with so that he won’t die apart from You.
Please send my love to my brother, his wife, his children, his ex-wife and ex-girlfriend. Please let him find reconciliation with his past loves as well as with my father. Please don’t let my dad die without finding some kind of reconciliation with R. Please send my love to my cousins K and M as well as all of my cousins and Aunts and Uncle on my father’s side. Please fill their hearts with your love, and make them successful and prosperous, but with the understanding of where their blessed lives come from. Especially K, who seems to be the furthest away from you in her life. Please comfort her for the loss of her parents, and give her the opportunity to see the good that comes with returning to church.
Please send my love to those people who are under oppression in the Middle East, and give them strength to forebear the terrible things ISIS is doing to them. Please let them come to see the awful truth about Islam, and let them die as Christians, even if they must be martyrs and not realize true joy, happiness and peace until they are in Heaven. Please send my love to those young people in ISIS and Boku Harem who haven’t completely submitted to evil and have time left to come to their senses and get out.
Please send my love to the President as well as those who persecute him for being black and not of their party. Please send my love to all who govern our country, that they might find common ground to start from and common goals and dreams to work toward instead of constantly seeking divisiveness. Please put peacebuilding strategies into the hearts of those TV and radio talkshow hosts who profit from and enjoy stirring up people’s wrath. Let them see that their actions, no matter how profitable to them and satisfying to their egos, are not actions of peacemakers.
Let those who cry out for fairness and justice in the world be comforted, but give them the wisdom of a true sense of fairness and justice, so they aren’t merely seeking that kind of fairness that suits them and harms or doesn’t benefit someone else.
Please send my love to all people who are suffering because of physical and mental illnesses, please send your Love as well. Let them be comforted and help them to see that they are loved and will one day be whole and healthy again.