Yesterday, a friend (Ragamuffin Diva) reminded me of this prayer from Thomas Merton:
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.
And then yesterday afternoon, these words from another friend, a trusted heart:
Jesus, I have no idea where to go from here. But I invite you in. Bring me all the joy you have for me. Help me to see it when it comes. Help me not resign myself to surviving. Restore my joy.
Yesterday was a difficult day. Some things happened that were heavy, weighty. They left me feeling lost, helpless.
MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going.
Jesus, I have no idea where to go from here.
I am grateful for the gift of friendship. And in particular, friends who share words. These two phrases accurately reflect my feelings from yesterday. And this morning. They don't "make it all better." But they do make it less lonely. Because I know others have felt this feeling, others have stared this demon, others have stood and faced the rising sun and declared, "I have no idea where I'm going." You say something like that when you're twenty and folks think it natural. You say something like that when you're forty and people get concerned; there's a rush to "make it all better" somehow. There were days, as a child, when some could "make it all better." But I'm becoming a man, and I'm putting away childish things. And sometimes, when you put away your childish things, you're left with no idea where to go. So you step out with nothing but the words of the FRIEND:
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.