Pray with ev­ery­thing you’ve got

Times Standard (Eureka) - - LIFESTYLE - Scott Mar­cus

I have never been re­li­gious in the tra­di­tional sense. As the first boy in my fam­ily’s his­tory to be bar mitz­vah’d, I was hon­ored. I was proud of my her­itage but the oft-times dog­matic rit­u­als that go with reli­gion never spoke to me. For decades, I hov­ered be­tween ag­nos­tic and athe­ist, my ques­tion­ing, skep­ti­cal na­ture dis­al­low­ing me from ac­cept­ing that which I could not prove.

As the years faded, I evolved a spir­i­tual phi­los­o­phy that re­ver­ber­ated with that prob­ing, doubt­ful me: Sim­ply put, I be­lieve there is an all-pa­tient, non-judg­ing, im­mensely in­tel­li­gent, creative-in-the-ex­treme Higher Power. Call It “God,” “Spirit,” “Uni­verse,” “Ghia” or what­ever you pre­fer, it is too vast for a name to de­fine it any­way.

Yet, as op­posed to the be­lief that he/she/it sits on high and de­ter­mines or guides our lives, I be­lieve that said “higher power” is ac­tu­ally the com­bined en­ergy of all there is, whether that be an­i­mal, plant, min­eral, quark, atom or su­per­nova. Since we are all birthed of It, It is us and we ac­cess It when­ever we choose. Ac­tu­ally, we are al­ways in touch with It, even when we’re not try­ing to be. Like fertile soil, all we need do is plant our thoughts into It and It re­sponds in the same fash­ion as a seed will grow when placed in dirt. It does not need to be coaxed nor asked; it just hap­pens.

I am not so ar­ro­gant as to know that this is the ul­ti­mate truth, but it works for me. I also am aware that oth­ers might have dif­fer­ing views, and that too is fine with me. You do you. I’ll do me. Pro­vid­ing nei­ther of us at­tempts to over­ride the other, we’ll get along fine. I imag­ine that no mat­ter what your be­liefs, you agree with that.

I put all this out there be­cause when I use the con­cept of “pray,” I don’t want you to think I’m ask­ing you to do some­thing for­eign to your be­liefs, such as go to church or tem­ple or to re­peat psalms or chap­ters if that’s not what you do. Should that be of so­lace to you, that’s won­der­ful. If, how­ever, you’re more like me, please don’t let the use of the word pre­vent you from hear­ing the more im­por­tant mes­sage.

Dis­claimers com­pleted, please, in what­ever fash­ion you do so, and to what­ever God or Higher Power you be­lieve, pray for our coun­try.

Pray that peo­ple of good­will will be heard over the ca­coph­ony of hate and vi­o­lence.

Pray that the up­heaval we wit­ness will force us to re­al­ize that we all seek safety, love and hap­pi­ness and that we will pur­sue that as our col­lec­tive goal.

Pray that we see in the eyes of those on the street, our­selves, rather than “the other” and can ac­cept that we are an im­per­fect so­ci­ety and the cul­mi­na­tion of cen­turies of er­rors has cre­ated a bro­ken, un­sta­ble, ex­posed di­vide that we must now bridge.

Pray that the rip­ping open of those wounds now jaggedly ex­posed will force us to con­front our dif­fer­ences and it will gift upon us an op­por­tu­nity to heal and hear each other bet­ter.

Pray that we are wise enough to com­pre­hend that sim­ply be­cause we be­lieve it to be true, it is not nec­es­sar­ily true for ev­ery­one.

Pray that we are open enough to ac­cept that some of us have priv­i­leges oth­ers do not, and those ben­e­fits are a func­tion of an un­bal­anced cul­ture, not awarded be­cause some are su­pe­rior. Let us be so hum­ble to re­mem­ber that up­lift­ing oth­ers re­moves noth­ing from any­one. As one is raised up, the col­lec­tive floor is height­ened. As we each climb the lad­der, it is cru­cial that we reach back a hand to those be­hind and pull them along with us. We must be­come an end­less chain of hu­man­ity, climb­ing and lift­ing.

Pray that our lead­ers put aside petty, un­nec­es­sary, out­dated con­cepts of “right and wrong” and look upon the cit­i­zenry not with con­tempt and dis­dain but with mar­vel and awe. They — and we — must seek out those left be­hind, over­looked, aban­doned, ig­nored, mis­treated, un­seen, bru­tal­ized, beaten, hu­mil­i­ated and dis­carded and of­fer to them a restora­tive hug and wel­com­ing arms rather than a bloody club.

Pray that sooner rather than later, we will re­act to dis­agree­ments with com­pas­sion and kind­ness before might and power. Pray that we will stay fo­cused on the true en­e­mies in to­day’s fight: two deadly viruses: COVID-19 and racism.

Whether you clas­sify your­self as a “be­liever” or not, in what­ever method you com­mune with what­ever higher power in which you be­lieve, pray with ev­ery­thing you’ve got that we are all re­minded that all lives are sa­cred and meant to be hon­ored and revered.

Pray hard. Pray fast. Pray deeply.

Scott “Q” Mar­cus is a pro­fes­sional speaker and founder of www. ThisTimeIM­, where he can be con­tacted for coach­ing, con­sult­ing, and pre­sen­ta­tions. Dur­ing this so­cial dis­tanc­ing pe­riod, he is con­duct­ing monthly on­line work­shops on set­ting goals and get­ting past what holds you back. Find out more at www.ThisTimeIM­­ten­tions.

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