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On CBS This Morning they talked about John Mellencamp—–and a life changing event in his life that happened not too long ago. There are those when they hear the story who will think the life changing event happened when he was a new born. Of course, it did because he had surgery for spina bifida  at that time that saved his life. His pioneering surgery was the first that a now 92 year old surgeon performed; he performed it on at least two other babies in those early days——one died on the table, and the other lived to the age of 14. John didn’t know about having the surgery until a playmate asked him what the scar on the back of his neck was from. CBS this morning also reported that John tells a story of something that happened to him when he was in his “popular prime” many years ago and a woman stopped him on the street as they were passing each other and asked him if he knew how many angels were surrounding him and how protected he was. He didn’t pay much attention to this incident until he talked to the doctor and found out, at age 62,  what a miracle it is that he is alive. Now he thinks maybe that woman was right.

However, more importantly, I think was an “eternity changing” event this same doctor had a part in when John visited him. The picture on CBS shows this wise looking elderly man reaching out and holding on to John’s arm while he emphasizes over and over again that John needs to pray. In this interview with CBS, John said he has never had any faith to speak of, but it is my hope he will pray and develop a close relationship with his Creator. This ground breaking doctor saved John’s life over 62 years ago, but he has now tried to save John’s soul. I don’t usually sing the praises of doctors, but I cannot help but admire this man who told John he needs to pray.

There are signs all around me that I need to pray. I participate in prayer groups twice a week, and I post a prayer on my church’s Facebook page every day. I attend several meetings a week where the meetings are opened and closed with prayer. I certainly pray when I attend church every week. I have found it harder to pray “spontaneous prayers from the heart” now than it was about a month ago.  I have been almost overwhelmed by my father’s emergent health problems  at home, in hospitals, and in rehab. The part of me that is a nurse and an oldest daughter feels helpless because I cannot fix my father’s health. He is 92, frail, and has several chronic health problems that he has survived when most people would not have.

Somewhere along the line I need to acquire some acceptance and to stop feeling like I have failed to make things better. I find myself wanting to hibernate in my house like a dog licking its wounds. My prayers are short, and sometimes they are forced. I am lucky that God’s grace has stayed and is staying with me and that he knows my needs without me having to remind him. I am tired of not having any energy, and having to work at focusing on doing the next right thing and just moving forward one day at a time. However, my life is full of many  miracles, and I do feel better when I gently nudge my mind to focus on cultivating an “attitude of gratitude.” So, yes, I need to pray, and mostly these days my prayers are ones of gratitude that God can handle this thing we call “life.” I am also asking him to help me strengthen my acceptance of life on life’s terms so I will stop feeling like I’ve failed at fixing things for those I love. On an intellectual level I know I am not God and should not expect myself to “change things I cannot change.” My spiritual work right now is knowing and accepting that at a deeper, intuitive level so my immediate reaction to life’s challenges is not expecting myself to make them better or to fix them. My mission, what my God wants me to do,  is to love and to remember that loving oneself and one another as Christ role modeled “love” does not mean controlling, directing, or fixing things.

In closing, I would like to share some words written by a spiritual leader I greatly admire. These are words addressing the topic of prayer were written by Bishop Charleston on Facebook this morning—–they just happen to address the topic of prayer:

“When the power of love is released through prayer, it does not matter how the prayer is said, or who says the prayer, or what culture they inhabit. It only matters that the words, spoken or unspoken, rise from the heart of a longing soul to touch the intention of God. When that connection is made, when that ancient bond is invoked, then a force is released that cannot be denied. Prayer works. It changes lives. It restores the world. It heals and blesses. It opens doors to wisdom. Thank you all for your prayers. I am honored to stand with you as a people without borders: we care enough for one to pray for all.”

Accessed on 103/14  at https://www.facebook.com/bishop.charleston?fref=nf

I didn’t find those words until after I had written these words this morning. I needed to hear them, and I regard them as a gift from God.  May God bless and keep you.

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