In gratitude for my newfound calling in microbiology, I push myself to meet deadlines and exceed expectations. Through my drive and assertiveness, I take advantage of this life’s many doors, windows, and stairwells the Divine Spirit opens to me. Yet, my fierce motivation can have unpleasant side effects. I mentally pit myself against seemingly vast and overwhelming unseen enemies, homophobia, misogyny, and the patriarchal god. My longing for deeper friendships and my yearning to bring a child into my life (and Monica’s life) can be painful feelings, much like hunger. During the day, I convert my loneliness and sadness to a mild, agitated anger that is more conducive to focused productivity. At day’s end, I then must cool my frenetic ardor — by combining spiritual practice with physical exercise.
After work last Monday, I ran the Bob Callan trail down to the banks of the Chattahoochee River. While running or walking, rather than musing over work or household concerns, I recited a modified version of my Prayer for Peace:
Dear Eternal Mother,
how does your peaceableness manifest
in sentiment, thought, deed, or spoken word
across all situations of my daily life.
The hurried person I repay with deference;
The angry person needs my kind compassion.
Yet, foul-mouthed scoffers, brutish bullies,
and power-hungry tyrants test my focus
on your Feminine Divine Light’s Peace.
May I be guided by your Shepherd-Son,
resisting without raising violent hands!
The earth now trembles in her weariness
of bloodshed’s insult to the good she gives.
A new, Unvanquished Peace, requires practitioners
who never seek revenge and it’s allure
nor strive for just ends by violent means.
Transform me Goddess, giving sight to those made blind
by rage and healing earth of hatred’s scars at last!
Sweet gentle Goddess whose touch eases hurts
within, calms discord separating hearts,
and promises to mend this world of rifts,
to your unwavering Spirit bind me tight!
Given ongoing world crises from failed states and civil wars throughout the Middle East and Africa, my prayer for the empowerment of peacemakers at the very least settles my inner-being towards calmness. In addition, my practice of inner peace and outer restraint could provide comfort for individuals I meet, such as returning veterans or refugees from violence-torn nations. Though I name specific situations in the prayer where I know how to respond according to the will of the Goddess, peaceableness in all possible situations is an immense challenge. At the same time, the true peace which unmasks evil must not be confused with the passivity which enables evil. I can only hope to attune myself to the non-violent gentleness of the Goddess as often as possible. Hence, a brisk run with a prayer on my lips turns my focus away from myself and towards other people and other living things. On the return leg of my run, among the grand little lives I noted were the passionflowers and trumpet creepers. Both flower abundantly in the northern Georgia midsummer and have each year reminded me to stay centered in peacefulness and love.