A close friend told me recently that I need to take time just for myself, no one else, not one iota for another, just for myself. She said it would be best not even to pray for another, just myself. This was a novel idea, yet a healing balm to imagine at a time like this.
I appreciated her care so much because she wanted me to care for myself. I think I was drawn to the book Prayers for Hope and Comfort: Reflection, Meditations, and Inspirations, by Maggie Oman Shannon, because it offered prayers for ourselves. Here are some of them:
When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.
When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.
Time to do into dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.
There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.
The dark will be your home
The night will give you a horizon
Further than you can see.
You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the swee
confinement of your aloneness
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.
–David Whyte, “Sweet Darkness”
If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on,
he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.
–Saint John of the Cross
O Great Spirit,
Whose voice I hear in the winds,
and whose breath gives life to all the world,
hear me! I am small and weak, I need your
strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes
ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have
made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand the
things you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have hidden
in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength, not to be greater than my
brother, but to fight my greatest enemy–myself.
Make me always ready to come to you with
clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset,
my spirit may come to you without shame.
–Native American prayer
Adapted from Prayers for Hope and Comfort: Reflection, Meditations, and Inspirations, by Maggie Oman Shannon (Conari Press, 2008).