A Prayer For The Unexpected
Do you fear the unexpected?
Are you always waiting for "the other shoe to drop?"
You can't be blamed. After all, so much of what is unexpected turns out to be negative.
For instance, look at the bombing of Lebanon. Three weeks ago that was entirely unexpected. Likewise the difficulty and blocks in evacuating people quickly was unexpected. For evacuees, boarding ships without food or water or bathrooms was an unexpected and distressing shock.
Yet, to the millions of refugees for whom these kinds of conditions have been normal - people fleeing violence and starvation in Africa, for instance - and especially for children born in refugee camps (and some who live in garbage dumps) - these kind of living conditions are what they expect.
Since we in the West do not expect to be threatened with bombs (or do we, now post 9/11?), hunger, thirst, inconvenience or callousness on the part of government officials about our welfare, it would be fascinating to talk with people recently evacuated to find out what their fears were about traveling, unexpected events and Israel.
Have they felt a great deal of empathy for those displaced around the world? Were they feeling guilty about our comfortable way of life?
Perhaps and, if so, it would make sense that feelings of guilt - or a desire to understand, viscerally, what being a refugee means - put them in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Yet, the news seems to show that many of them are blaming others for their plight.
Of course that makes complete sense, as that is how we are used to perceiving the world. They didn't bomb anyone, they weren't involved in this conflict directly.
But, what they - and you and I - do not understand is that we all are part of it. Our beliefs, our fears, our angers, our complicit approval - or apathy - contributes to all injustice and conflict.
I applaud them all for being there and experiencing, first hand, what it's like to be in a war zone, and what it's like to glimpse what it is like to be a refugee, forced from your home with nothing but the clothes on your back.
They will bring their stories back.
God willing, we will all become more compassionate as a result.
It would be fascinating to talk to them and find out what caused each person's decision to go to Lebanon. What conspired within each person to send him or her this last month - as opposed to last year - to visit or vacation?
Whatever the answers - and they are specific to individuals - what has happened to them will forever color their beliefs about travel, about Israel, about what "the unexpected" means.
As Catherine Shainberg writes in Kabbalah and the Power of Dreaming "...in perceiving your world, you create it," because "You make the world fit into the parameters of your...attractors."
In other words, whatever you expect the world to deliver to you - however you expect others to act - that's what you'll get.
Likewise, just as the outer world reflects the state of your inner world, your inner world is a reverse of the outer world.
So, what about us in our safe little ruts here in the West where we feel, even if we don't think it: Please God just keep everything the same, keep me safe?
Considering the change - and the unexpected - that is everywhere, wouldn't it be a good idea for us to affirm that any unexpected change winds up being a positive event for us rather than a negative event?
Yet if we fear the unexpected, it's likely that anything unexpected will be negative.
Therefore, to have more positive experiences we must either change the world or change ourselves.
Which do you think you can do easier?
People keep trying to change the world.
But, unless you have an army and billions of dollars, you cannot impose your will on the world. And even with an army and money your hold will be temporary, especially if you are acting out of selfishness, fear or ignorance.
We can't change the world - not permanently - without changing ourselves.
Only through changing ourselves can we attract what we want - as opposed to what we don't want.
Bear in mind, also, that God blesses only equal contracts. If you try to change yourself so you can use, abuse and exploit others for your own financial benefit, it won't last. Just as Ken Lay lost Enron, so must all injustices be eventually undone.
So if you fear the unexpected, consider a different approach.
Try welcoming the unexpected.
Here's a prayer to get you started:
I Am Open To The Unexpected
I open to the unexpected.
I appreciate the joyously unrehearsed.
In the presence of my family
and in the solitary time I take for rejuvenation,
I see the world with new eyes as I am:
Enraptured by the fragile wings of a butterfly
Engrossed in a book that speaks to my heart;
Lost in tracing silver veins in a maple leaf
Shined upon by the smile of a stranger;
Delighted by the phrasing of a child
Hugged by a friend;
Inspired to jot down an idea
Amazed by a personal discovery;
Freed to create, write, paint, sculpt
Given a message I needed, through a stranger;
Filled with the immense gratitude that creates miracles
Guided to make someone's day more beautiful;
Deeply pleased by the sweetness of my spouse
Invigorated by exercise or activity;
Or awakened to pray for the world.
I am open to the unexpected.
And so it is.
from Prayerforce: 365 Days To A New Life
Thou hast shewed thy people hard things: thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment. Psalms 60:3