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A Prayer for When I am Pissed

I am a word and idea junkie.
Much of the fuel that keeps my mental and emotional engines running is good thinking, well stated.
When I come across really good stuff, I dump it into a special file, a holding bin to which I return from time to time to browse for something I think I remember putting in there, but have no idea where it is.
My filing system has plunged several former secretaries into pits of frustration, despair and ill-concealed rage.
On one of my foul-frame-of-mind days, I was fishing in this Good Stuff file and found a couple of scraps long forgotten but which must have been pre-cognitively put there for retrieval on just such a day.
With my mind now on a new track, I cobbled together a prayer that probably won’t be heard in Sunday-morning church, but it did my soul good. Some of it is original with me, some came from gawdknowswho. Telling you that exonerates me from the sin of plagiarism.
A Prayer for When I am Pissed
Spirit of all life:
Help me remember that the inconsiderate airhead who cut me off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.
Help me to remember that the pierced, tattooed, semi-surly young woman who can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old working-her-way-through-college student, juggling her apprehension over final exams with her fear of not getting her student loans for next semester.
Remind me, Lord, that the disgusting bum begging for money, who really ought to get a job, is a slave to addictions I cannot imagine in my worst nightmares.
Help me understand that the old couple walking annoyingly slowly through the store aisles, blocking my shopping progress, are savoring this moment, knowing that the biopsy report she got last week told them they will not go shopping together much longer.
I know the swaggering potty-mouthed young punk making a noisy ass of himself in the convenience store needs to do something to feel important and loved, because nothing he gets at home makes him feel that way. Do I really want to pinch his head off?
Grant me the understanding that everyone I meet struggles with their own demons and that some days they lose the battle.
Keep me from thinking that other people are only what I see of them on their bad days, and to recall the times I have done thoughtless, stupid, hurtful things and have been forgiven.
Preserve me from the practice of peevish reactions to petty annoyances. Grant me the self-preserving ability to choose carefully what I get angry about.
Remind me each day that the greatest gift I have been given is the capacity to act in love, which is not just a warm fuzzy I feel toward the people I hold dear, or approve of, or who treat me well.
Help me to open my heart, not to just those who are close to me, but to all humanity.
Let me be slow to judge and quick to forgive, to show patience, understanding, empathy and love.
And deliver me, Lord, from the judgment of people who are as nitpicky as I am today.
Editor’s note: W. Jackson “Jack” Wilson is a psychologist, an Episcopal priest, a sometime academic and a writer living in Colorado. He writes with humor, whimsy, passion and penetrating insight into the human condition. And in Pushkin, Russia, a toilet is named in his honor.

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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