I cannot fill in the blanks from the last time that I have written without sounding contrived, well at least not yet. All I know is when I was most consumed in the mundane of life, I prayed to G-d and asked him to please show me what life is all about, I guess the saying is true, "be careful what you wish for,” or in this case pray for.
My relationship with G-d has weakened over the past two years, but I know he is there and I continue to hold him close to my heart... just differently. The other day I asked my son (who is now nine) to please pray when he goes to bed at night, and I asked that he please included both our family and especially me in his prayers. He replied by asking, "why don't I just pray for the whole world?" Selfishly I wanted to reply saying that he should rather just pray for us, but I held myself back.
I realize now that life will throw us no favors, we ourselves have to get up and make it happen, all the while with G-d edging us on and wishing us success, but like a good parent giving us the space and ability to be able to taste the joy of self-achievement. Yes there are lottery winners out there, and bad people with great lives, but I doubt they know true happiness. Happiness it is not a constant, it is an ever-moving aspiration that we must hunger for and strive for continuously. The only way I can describe happiness is to relate it with learning, growing and the willingness to be open to change.
In the above movie, Elizabeth Gilbert so aptly writes that, "ruin is the road to transformation." I have written before that "happiness is for the brave", but it is not just enough to take a few brave steps, we have to live with that bravery inside of us everyday. We have to review our lives, appreciate what we have and be strong enough to recognize what we still need. If we don't consider what we require and the steps we need to take, then happiness is nothing more than Santa, a wonderful concept, but not real. It is not always easy because this often means facing our greatest fear - change. Gilbert goes on to describe a "sweet time of grieving." Sweet Grief, what an antonym, but yet so true, it is the hardest of times that we seem to draw the greatest lessons, so with enough bravery to face those lessons, we are rewarded with the sweetest of personal growth.
My father hates change, but the belief that we can control that is both arrogant and futile. In an ever-changing world, it is the constant of love that I crave. Something I was certain that my journey of coming out would provide for me, but again I realize that in love, "Iam a victim of my own optimism." I do and will always continue to have faith in romance, but I need to accept that this is something I cannot control alone. And while my life is currently full of change, I can only be grateful that G-d has given me the strength to invite in the lessons that are thrown my way.
So, to answer my sons question as to why praying for the whole world is great, but not enough, I will end with this last quote:
“Prayer is a relationship; half the job is mine. If I want transformation, but can't even be bothered to articulate what, exactly, I'm aiming for, how will it ever occur? Half the benefit of prayer is in the asking itself, in the offering of a clearly posed and well-considered intention. If you don't have this, all your pleas and desires are boneless, floppy, inert; they swirl at your feet in a cold fog and never lift.”
- Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love -