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I’ve always heard the phrase “Work Hard, Play Hard” and probably lived it out part of my life.  I may have played more than worked a lot of times too but I digress.  Life is hard sometimes.  Oh, I see people I know who look like they have the world by the tail, plenty of money and nice families and great vacations all over the world and it doesn’t look like they struggle with a thing.  I have also known homeless people very well and I’m not so sure they didn’t have the more peaceful life but it was not an easy life.  For almost everyone of us, in some way or another, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, life can be hard.  What is hard for us may be a blip for someone else but it doesn’t make it any less hard for us.  I’m a firm believer that our misery is the worst we know and we can’t simply look at someone else who may have a difficulty we don’t want to make it all better.  (Some thoughts on that.)  So, what gets me through? Prayer.  Now, there is no doubt I have lots of thoughts on prayer and have had some intense battles with it.  I didn’t say I know everything about prayer, just that I have lots of thoughts and battles.  I have gone through times with lots of worded prayers and I have gone through times when I simply asked God to look at my heart because I had no words.  I’ve also gone through periods of complete silence knowing believing that if God knows me better than I know myself, he knows what is going on within me.  Today, I’m in a between point where I do the first two; say some prayers at times, mediate and listen at others. One of the greatest gifts God has put in my life is a woman who reads the Bible in the morning and then shares her prayer for the day with me.  I never knew how powerful it was to have someone share their daily prayer with me.  It makes me think.  It encourages me to pray.  It reminds me others are facing the day with hopes and dreams and battles ahead of them and approaching it with a prayer on their heart for that day.  In my darkest moments, her prayers have softened me.  In my better moments, her prayers have encouraged me.  I know it’s a gift because I see what it does to my mind and my heart.  I am thankful for her faithfulness to God and to prayer because it inspires me to live more faithfully too. I won’t share her prayers here because I have not asked for permission.  Instead, I’ll share a prayer by Thomas Merton.  I appreciate the simplicity of it and his desire to serve God even when he doesn’t know how.  I want to have a heart that is 100% for God even when I am blind to what I need to be doing or where I should be going.  Those are the times I want to lean on God the most.  Again, I digress.  Without further ado… MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

• Thomas Merton, “Thoughts in Solitude”

Grace and peace.