Lately I have found myself in a situation where I am not sure what to hope, wish or pray for.
First, let me get this out of the way: I understand that we do not all believe in God. But I believe there is a spiritual and a humanitarian concept in my message that we can all learn from, as we all have yearnings and desires in life.
If I were to be impulsively selfish, I would pray for exactly what I thought was best, or the most comfortable for me and for what it was that I personally desired. But this may not always be the wisest practice in my opinion and experience.
There is even a prayer that is widely used that holds this thought in mind and spirit. Many people are familiar with the first verse, but the second is also lovely and offers us more to ponder (substitute the word universe or universal spirit for He if it is more in keeping with your beliefs):
The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
~ Reinhold Niebuhr
Now I’ll dive right into the heart of the matter concerning those desires that may not be at all good for us:
Many of us wish for a better relationship, only to find that each and every relationship is never perfect and is perfectly flawed. When we leave a relationship without learning the lessons that it has to teach us, we tend to get into another that is very similar to the one that we just left. I have seen this happen time and time again.
2. Moving and vacations.
The same goes with moving, or even taking a vacation, to escape your current surroundings or living situation. Sometimes a change is good, but often we are running from situations that are the very ones that we need to work on most. There is even a brilliant quote for this exact scenario:
Where ever you go, you take yourself with you.
3. Purchasing something to make ourselves happy.
Some of us turn to the elation of buying a material item to cheer us up or make us feel good. Rarely have I seen this work out well, and I speak from personal experience on this.
Sure the purchase, be it small or large, a marble or a car, might seem to be a great idea and we may put our energy into yearning for what our hearts desire—until the bill comes. And unless we’ve won the lottery (which has brought upon great sorrow to many who have actually won), we may be stuck with some unrealistic bills that don’t match up to the joy that we thought our purchase would bring us.
This leads me to another saying:
If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?
4. A new job.
Everyone has bad days at work. And everyone who works has always got that one person that they have to put up with—you know the one I am talking about.
I personally had to work right next to a guy who didn’t believe in deodorant, and wore heavy wool sweaters that he never washed all winter long—oh criminy, that was the worst!
I had another job where my boss turned out to be a control freak about vacations. I would do as told and put down the days I was going to be taking off, as was the rule, and she would erase them. Let’s just say that that didn’t work out so well and sometimes new jobs are definitely a good idea.
5. To have more hours in the day.
This seems to be a common wish as many of us are busy to the point where we are sacrificing sleep to fit all of it in.This is simply not healthy.
We all need to pace ourselves and get good sleep, food and exercise. If we can fit in more than that—great! But if we can’t, I humbly suggest slowing down. We all need a break and living out 24 hour days and wishing for more only so that we can get more done is not good for our minds, spirits or bodies. Enough said.
6. Wishing or praying for an ill person (or pet) to live.
This is the actual reason I’m writing this article. I have a loved one who seems to be in an extremely sick state more than a healthy state.
I have been grappling over and over in my mind what is best to wish for. I love this person very much, but if her constant state of being is going to be living in agony, I have decided that I can’t bring myself to pray or wish for her to simply live. Instead I personally choose God’s will or the will of the universe to decide what is best for her.
Although it feels somewhat wrong to do this and I’m sure many will judge me for it, I am in fact, not hoping that this beloved person dies. Only that they are in a place where they’re happiest and have the most peace for their physical, spiritual and emotional being.
I learned this the hard way.
My grandmother had a debilitating stroke many years ago, and I prayed for her to live. And live she did—for seven long, more torturous years. Looking back I wish I had been wise enough to pray for God’s will. And I am not taking credit for my prayer keeping her alive. I am simply saying that I would have felt better about her living if I had prayed for God’s will and not for my own.
So there you have it—the good, bad, ugly and the reality of my thoughts. And I will end with another fitting quote:
Be careful what you wish for because it might come true.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Yan Inderayana/Pixoto