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September 21, 2017 – A Prayer on the State of the Country

September 21, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Please take a moment to pray.

I have avoided speaking of politics in my public prayers.  I’m not sure if I’m afraid that my words might alienate someone.  Maybe they won’t like me, or some such neurotic idea.  I’ve forgotten that this is supposed to be my conversation with You, the place where I can feel free to invite you into my heart and share with You my burdens and cares, as well as my joys.

I’ve been living in a semi-depression since the election and in the months of the Trump Presidency.  I have witnessed, along with the country, so many proposals that have the intent of hurting people.  I have seen mothers separated from their families because they are undocumented.  I have seen Muslims banned from entry to the United States.  I have watched the government continue to attempt to take health care away from millions of people, putting many at risk for their lives.  It is the antithesis of what I have believed to be the idea that is America.

Disruption

A Prayer on the State of the Country

Mother- Father,

Like the prophets
Long ago
I come to You
Wailing of
The state we are in.
I watch common people
Trying to live good lives
Subjected to threats
from the government.
Cut health care
To give money to the wealthy.
Deport innocent people
without considering the hardship that results.
Government officials
Spending money lavishly
Without regard to the millions
Struggling to just get by.
People being subjected
To public humiliation
From a man
Who knows no shame
Conscienceless
Amoral
Deceitful
Thieving
Traitorous
Charlatan.

Return us to the ideal.
Let us be the refuge for the world.
That place where freedom exists.
And people of all races or beliefs
Live in peace.
Burn the hate from
Our people’s hearts.
Return us to being a welcoming place.
Let us also remember
That all that is good
About this country
About our people
Comes from You.
Amen

Peace,

Tom

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September 16, 2017 – A Prayer on the Human Family

September 16, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Please take a moment to pray.

Yesterday our 15-year old son had his wisdom teeth extracted.  While this is common for most people, it was a difficult procedure for Johnny because of his past facial burns, which restricts the size that his mouth is able to open.  Fortunately, he has had great care in relation to physical complications from burns at Shriners Burns Hospital.  He views Shriners as a place where he is cared for and loved.  When we checked in yesterday many staff members came to his room to greet Johnny and us.  It was a feeling of family.

The compassionate care which Johnny received is not available to millions across the globe.  I think of Johnny being transported through time and space to a third world country, and I suspect that he would not have survived his burns without the treatment that he has received in his life.  We are grateful for his care.  In an ideal world, health care would be available for all, here, and across the world.

Multicultural Kids Around the World 2

A Prayer on the Human Family

Mother- Father,

We are all one human family.
We need to care for one another
Cherish one another
Act to insure that all are treated with
Compassion
Charity
Mercy
Justice.
I dream of a world
Where all live in peace
Sharing our gifts
So that all benefit.
Living lives
With care for each other
And our world.

Peace,

Tom

September 13, 2017 – A Prayer on Finding It Difficult to Pray

September 13, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Please take a moment to pray.

I have tried to restart this prayer blog/journal, but I discovered that sometimes ideas just don’t pop into my head about what I should write.  It’s ironic.  There are tons of things going on in our country, in the world, that would be appropriate to ask God about, and if the Creator ever wanted my opinion on it, I would have some solid ideas.

pray

A Prayer on Finding It Difficult to Pray

Mother- Father,

There’s too much war
Too many natural disasters
Too much global warming
Too much climate change
Too many undocumented immigrants just wanting to live in peace, being hunted down as if they were infected beings.
Too many lies from politicians
Too many promises of politicians
Too little disregard for problems facing the country
Too many hungry
Too many homeless
Too many ill without health care
Too much murder
Too much deception
Too many drug overdoses
Too little goodwill
Too little kindness
Too little justice
Too little love
Too little caring
Too little empathy
Too little hope
Too little peace

I want to scream
Shout
Curse.
Mainly I want to change it,
And help make this world a better place.
Amen.

Peace,

Tom

September 12, 2017 – A Prayer on a Cross Country Practice

September 12, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Please take a moment to pray.

I went to pick up my daughter after Cross Country practice.  Arriving early I watched the kids gathering around their coach for stretching exercises and then saw them strike out in different directions to get their runs in.  They all seemed in good spirits, enjoying the beautiful fall day.

Cross Country

A Prayer on a Cross Country Practice

Mother- Father,

Looking at these adolescents
So many shapes
Sizes
Colors
Heights
Muscular
Slender
Lanky
Adult-like
And pre-pubescent.
All participating
For a team sport
Requiring individual effort.

The amazing bodies
Working effortlessly,
The runners
Gliding over paths
Like skaters on ice.
Machine-like
Strong
Powerful
Climbing hills
And completing
Their circuit.
Amen.

Peace,

Tom

September 11, 2017 – A Prayer on the Remembrance of the 9/11 Attack

September 11, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Please take a moment to pray.

In every generation there are moments captured in time when the world seemed to stop by the magnitude of an event occurring at that instant.  The attack on the Twin Towers in New York sixteen years ago today was one such moment.  Most adults will recall where they were and what they were doing.  I was working in a school, and having returned to my office heard that an attack had taken place.  I went into a classroom where a television had been turned on to witness the new coverage.  The shocking replay of an aircraft being swallowed inside a skyscraper was daunting.

Twin Towers

A Prayer on the Remembrance of the 9/11 Attack

Mother-Father,

Horrible images
Cluster in my mind
Of the 9/11 attack.
A jet
Burrowing into an immense building.
People fleeing the epicenter of disaster
Covered in ash
Gray ghosts
Scurrying away.
Handkerchiefs clutched over faces
Filtering debris for each breath.
Conversations of passengers
On cell phones
With loved ones
Before their flight
Became a projectile
A weapon of hate.
First responders
Rushing toward the disaster
Courageous
Duty-bound
Focused on lives to save
Regardless of their own survival.
Real lives lost
in real-time.
Then, a bonding of
We survivors
Realizing finally
That we are a nation
A People,
Americans.
Amen.

Peace,

Tom

 

September 9, 2017 – A Prayer for Our Daughter Running a Cross Country Race

September 9, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Please take a moment to pray.

We watched our 15-year-old daughter compete in her first Cross Country race of high school.  She hadn’t learned of the summer conditioning program despite efforts to find out what the schedule was.  So she had a late start and is behind the other students, but still she was able to run well in the open race.  Every moment like this is a victory for her perseverance and heart.

Joy was severely burned as a toddler in China.  As she grew, contractures began to affect her legs, hands and fingers.  Burned skin does not grow, but the bones contained within it do grow.  The burned skin forces the bones to be pulled around those pivot points.  When Joy reached age 4 years she was unable to walk due to the contractures in her legs.  Her family did what they could for her, but opted to abandon her across the street from a new orphanage.  We choose to believe that they wanted her to get the medical treatment that they couldn’t provide for her.  That treatment was found at Shriners Burns Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio.  My wife and I served as her host parents, but all of us bonded and we pursued her adoption.

She has had numerous surgeries, occupational and physical therapies, which corrected the contractures.  To witness her running today, is a miracle.

Joy's Race

A Prayer for Our Daughter Running a Cross Country Race

Mother-Father,

I feel gratitude and joy

Joy at Miami

A swelling heart
And welling eyes
Watching our daughter run today.
At four years
She was nonambulatory.

Now she runs
Developing speed
Endurance
Character.
She is a testament
To the human spirit
The desire to overcome obstacles

Pushing herself
Growing

Unstoppable
Reaching for goals
And dreams.
Her victory is
Finishing the race.
Amen.

Peace,

Tom

September 8, 2017 – A Prayer for Our Son on His Birthday

September 8, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Please take a moment to pray.

Today is the birthday of our son Johnny.  He is fifteen years old.  He came to us “temporarily” at the age of six months from Bolivia.  We were to be his host family while he received care at Shriners Burns Hospital for facial burns suffered when he was one week old.  He arrived at age six months, scrawny and malnourished.  He would need to improve his overall health before surgery could take place.

I put no constraints on my heart and fell in love with him.  I guess it’s easy to do that with infants.

Johnny gained weight, and grew but lagged in many developmental milestones.  He had his surgery and grew in health and in our hearts.  When the time came for Johnny to return to his family in La Paz, they had disappeared.  The agency that had arranged for Johnny’s medical care in the US could not locate them.  So Johnny stayed, and after three years we adopted him despite the fact that I was in my early fifties.

As time wore on, it was shown that Johnny was a child with global developmental disabilities.  Fear began to displace joy and love.  I worried about who would take care of Johnny if something happened to my wife and me.

Johnny as infant

A Prayer for Our Son on His Birthday

Mother-Father,

Our son is fifteen.
I watch his struggles
And share them.
As he struggles for independence,
I struggle with a cloud
Of uncertainty.

Would that I had lived
Solely in a state of love
Discounting
The perilous push of time
Eroding my safety.
Reality confronts me
Of my own mortality.
Will death
Bring the abandonment
Of my son?

I lay my flawed fatherhood
Before You,
As well as the fate and life
Of my son.
Guard him well.Johnny in School
Protect him.
Keep him from harm.
Let him always feel love
From those surrounding him.
As well as the memory
Of those who loved him first.

Amen.

Peace,

Tom