The Welcoming Prayer

img_4371Who would have guessed even a month ago that our whole planet would jolt and be forever changed?  Not me. COVID-19, the Coronavirus, is now a trending word worldwide.  It feels like the whole world has changed overnight..

In one day, one hour, Maddie and Whitney lost their last semester of their junior and sophomore year at k-state.  They both lost their jobs at the preschool they worked at together.   They went from growing independence to dependence.  Belle can’t go back to school either, the rest of her freshman year in high school over in a snap.  I asked her this morning how her and her friends were feeling about it, and she said, “None of us knows what to do or how to feel”. All of their hang out places and spaces are gone.  Parents don’t want groups of kids at their house, so that’s out too.

As a mom, it hurts my heart so much to see what the girls have worked so hard for be put out in a second, without much direction or comfort in knowing what lies ahead.    These losses hurt.

I find myself thinking that despite all of it, our own losses are nothing.  Absolutely nothing compared to what many are going through right now.  We have a home.  We have food. We are reasonably healthy.  We have enough. We truly have so much to be grateful for.  Gratitude lists are so important in times of crisis and chaos.

While yes, we do have all those things, along with the hope Jesus gives, there is still a whole lot of room for grief.  We are not heroes if we don’t grieve or allow some sadness to surface.  Putting on a happy face despite all that is churning beneath the surface is not always helpful.

In my own circles, I can see and feel a rage growing in people.  Hoarding, complaining, menacing, arguing, etc. are all reactions to fear and sadness. It’s important for all of us to steward those feelings and recognize what is causing them.  The Welcoming Prayer is something that I turn to when what is happening around me is confusing. I welcome all of it, knowing that everything that happens to me is something I can learn from, and grow because of.

The Welcoming Prayer is a method of consenting to God’s presence and action in our physical and emotional reactions to events around us. The purpose of the Welcoming Prayer is to deepen our relationship with God through consenting in everything that happens to us and around us.

Welcome, welcome, welcome.
I welcome everything that comes to me today
because I know it’s for my healing.
I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions, persons,
situations, and conditions.
I let go of my desire for power and control.
I let go of my desire for affection, esteem,
approval and pleasure.
I let go of my desire for survival and security.
I let go of my desire to change any situation,
condition, person or myself.
I open to the love and presence of God and
God’s action within. Amen

~Thomas Keating

Grief does not cancel out gratitude.  Grief is a feeling; it is not regulated or to be dismissed by us or anyone.  We all handle grief differently.  For me, it’s going on a walk, solitude, sorting it out in my head before processing with anyone. In those times I can “Welcome” what it is that I am feeling and thinking, and begin to sort through my emotions, thoughts and feelings.    For Belle, it’s singing at the top of her lungs while driving down a long road with some friends.  For my older girls, it’s sitting in their newly established independence, just being with their people in their grief, comforting one another by just being.

What I think is most important right now is to remember that Jesus, our lord and savior, the king of the universe, was called “A man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.”(Isaiah 53:3)

Our Jesus knows what it is to hurt, to lose what is most important, to weep. He weeps with us as there is suddenly so much grief and loss in our world.   Know that in your own losses you are not alone.  Literally the world grieves with you.  Jesus sees and cares.  He has so much love to give. 

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