I had an epiphany this past year.
Since then I’ve prayed for anyone who has asked me to. To anyone who asked for my prayers before my epiphany, I’m sorry.
I’ve come to the passionate belief that there is only this. This belief, for me, keeps me honest, accountable and caring. It means all my love, care, rewards, punishment, joys, pains and everything else you can imagine must fit inside the life I’m living now. It’s a deep, core belief of mine. One that I was inconsiderately, rudely, and even aggressively defensive about since about the age of 13.
It’s hard to explain, but to the non-doctrinal expressions of belief among us often feel like aggressive acts.
It feels like people are judging us, as they surely are, as I am them more often than I care to admit, and we get into a stance where we feel like we have to defend our simple belief that all of this is more than enough—more than enough reason for love and compassion and acts of kindness. My beliefs as well as my upbringing are the impetus for my good deeds and good works. My shortcomings, failings and acts of insensitivity are human. They are not evidence of a bad person. These unkind moments are evidence of an imperfect person or more succinctly they are evidence of a person. My acknowledgment of them, my apologies for them and my attempts to make up for them and correct them are grace. I’m about halfway through this journey if it goes to plan and I have a lot to be proud of, a lot to continue to work on and a lot to apologize for.
On that note I’d like to offer my apologies to anyone who was having a moment of stress, encountering tragedy, or simply looking for my love and support and asked me to “send your love and prayers.”
I took this request as an attack on my beliefs, if you can imagine something so self-centered, egotistical, and thoughtless. I promise you, my responses, my sincere expressions of support tinged with refusal of ‘you’re in my thoughts’ or ‘I’m sending you good vibes’ were sincerely intended to be supportive. They were. But I can’t lie, there was a piece of that love and support that I was withholding.
For that I’m truly and deeply sorry.
It was a failing of mine to think these requests, this reaching out for support, was anything other than that. I can pray. In fact whenever I was asked to pray, I did. In my way and with a sincere heart.
So going forward if you ask me to keep you in my thoughts, I will.
If you ask me to send good vibes, that is what I will do.
And if you ask me to pray for you, you’ll be in my prayers.
This essay originally appeared on Joe Medler’s Developing Dad blog.
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