An author I thoroughly appreciate is Brian Doyle. He wrote Mink River and The Plover. I haven’t read one of those, but the one I did read I wished it would never end. He is a Portland author and his book took part on the Oregon coast, which is a place that has some magic if ever a place had magic. It’s the kind of magic that Brian knows about… mundane, trodding, unexpected and almost unbelievable. As if a raven sat on the window sill and spoke to me.
He also wrote a book that I am about to read called the Book of Uncommon Prayer, with chapter titles like “Prayer for People whose Dads Left them as kids” and “Prayer in thanks for decent Shoes”. Because I believe in the sublime power of humor to lift us out of our misery, among other things, the format of his book takes me.
Today I cannot start with the things which really deserve great prayer, as well as action, such as the huge cluster of mess which is the racial and gun situation in our country, to say nothing of the misery of our presidential options. I can only start with something small. I have far too many incomplete thoughts on the other grieving issues.
Prayer for a young girl who is sometimes very impolite.
My dear young child. Your small, young heart will not soon comprehend the love I have for you. A love that has given shape and form to the very idea of love for me. Your life has defined love in my life.
But it is of no service to you to permit impertinence and hostility toward those around you, particularly your adults. Your adults endeavor to make a satisfying life for their beloved, in particular, you. Because you have given form to love for them.
We love you enough to understand that your smaller body is more susceptible to the influences of fatigue, hunger or being overwhelmed in general. Still, none of these excuse miserable behavior toward those closest to you on a continual, ongoing basis.
I do, sweet child, understand the flood of emotion that sends us awash in sensations of disappointment, dismay, anger, joy or otherwise. Still, none of these excuse miserable behavior toward those closest to you on a continual, ongoing basis.
In this world exists small injustices on a daily basis. Small hurts that can add up to feel as though nothing might ever be good again. Your adults have experienced these too. Still, it is no excuse for miserable behavior toward those closest to you on a continual, ongoing basis.
Sometimes when we are small, we feel small and want to feel more important by using our strong emotions in a big way, like we have seen grownups do either on TV or in real life. It can make us feel more powerful. Still, it will never be ok to continue to be a miserable creature toward those closest to you on a continual, ongoing basis.
Along came a scolding, firmly today rather than gently but sternly reminded. I saw the tears welling in your eyes, which was hard.
But you heard, finally. After which point, you relented. Reminders stopped, stern, gentle or otherwise.
And we all breathed a sigh of relief. May we not have to take such a circuitous path to peace in the future.