Because I'm losing my mind around here and completely spaced out on what yesterday even was, I'm doing yesterday today.
Finished a couple of books lately. The first, which I was completely surprised by, was Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To by Anthony DeStefano. I hadn't thought I would like it much--I had read his A Travel Guide to Heaven last year, and while I liked it, it wasn't something that I would recommend to others so much. It was useful to me at a time when grief was strong, because it gave me comfort and a vision for the future that was very hard to see at the time. But it was breezier than I generally like. Which sounds kind of like a weird complaint, I know.
Anyway, I expected to feel the same way about the Ten Prayer book, but I actually liked it very much more. And every one of the ten prayers gave me something to meditate on and consider.
According to DeStefano, the prayers God always answers, if we ask with a humble heart are:
- God, show me that you exist
- God, make me an instrument
- God, outdo me in generosity
- God, get me through this suffering
- God, forgive me
- God, give me peace
- God, give me courage
- God, give me wisdom
- God, bring good out of this bad situation
- God, lead me to my destiny
Every single chapter made me stop and think. Better yet, stop and pray for some of these gifts for myself. I tend to get caught up thinking that I have to be all stoic and self-sufficient about things. The Protestant work ethic is planted deeply and firmly in me, and "God helps those who help themselves" has morphed into some ugly cousin where I think everything is up to me. And I can imagine God standing there thinking, "Good heavens, girl. Give it over!"
It's not for nothing that my family threatened to get me a shirt that said Teamwork is a Lot of People Doing What I Say. Ahem. And everyone nods when I wear my shirt that says, I'm Not Bossy, I Just Know What You Should Be Doing.
So, thinking that there are gifts that God has for me. Things he wants to give me. That I don't have to earn. Or even really deserve?
Well, it was something that I needed to think about.
The second book I finished this week was The Hound of Heaven at my Heels: The Lost Diary of Francis Thompson by Robert Waldron. It is a novel--an imagination of what a diary might have been like if Thompson had kept one during the time he spent at a monastery recovering from opium addiction. It was during this time that he wrote his famous poem The Hound of Heaven.
Very short, but a touching look at what it is like to try to recover from addiction and actually use your God-given gifts. To think that such a beautiful poem might have never come to be without the people who helped a homeless, sorry, addicted, nearly dead waif of a person.
Thompson fought his addiction his whole life, never fully conquering it. How he must have suffered in his relapses.....
Currently reading this month's book club selection, picked especially for Lenten reading: Robert Bolt's play A Man For All Seasons about Thomas More. I love to read plays, though I do it seldom, because I get all caught up in the stage directions and notes and thinking about how it must be to be good enough to actually ACT in something.
Also on the stack, a biography of Edith Stein.
How 'bout you?