Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Prayer for the Day

Every morning when I wake up, I read a few verses from the Bible.

I don't know when exactly I started doing this, but I have done it for as long as I can remember.  I scan through the chapters for verses that I've underlined over the years -- verses that I've found meaningful or inspiring.

I woke up this morning, thinking about September 11th, as I have on every September 11th since 2001.  There is little new that can be said by me about that horrible day.

But I thumbed through the Bible on my bedside table that I got when I was confirmed in 6th Grade and I came to Romans 12:21.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
It seemed like a nice quote for a day like September 11th.

I don't share this with you to open up a discussion on politics or policies.  In fact, I think we should have mandatory "no political discussions" on the anniversary of this day.

I just shared that with you because it made me think that in the face of events as devastating as what happened in 2001, that's truly the best thing anyone can do . . .

Just get up in the morning and do whatever you can to try to make the world a better place.


Thomas Hobbes said...

For me, I'm good with All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, an essay by Robert Fulghum. While many view it as simple, or even simplistic, Fulghum in his later years referred to it as elemental . . .

"Each spring, for many years, I have set myself the task of writing a personal statement of belief: a Credo. When I was younger, the statement ran for many pages, trying to cover every base, with no loose ends. It sounded like a Supreme Court brief, as if words could resolve all conflicts about the meaning of existence.

The Credo has grown shorter in recent years - sometimes cynical, sometimes comical, and sometimes bland - but I keep working at it. Recently I set out to get the statement of personal belief down to one page in simple terms, fully understanding the naïve idealism that implied.

The inspiration for brevity came to me at a gasoline station. I managed to fill my old car's tank with super deluxe high-octane go-juice. My old hoopy couldn't handle it and got the willies - kept sputtering out at intersections and belching going downhill. I understood. My mind and my spirit get like that from time to time. Too much high-content information, and I get the existential willies. I keep sputtering out at intersections where life choices must be made and I either know too much or not enough. The examined life is no picnic.

I realized then that I already know most of what's necessary to live a meaningful life - that it isn't all that complicated. I know it. And have known it for a long, long time. Living it - well that's another matter, yes? Here's my Credo:

All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don't hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don't take things that aren't yours.

Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.


Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.

Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.

Wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.

And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or your government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all - the whole world - had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are - when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together."

Anonymous said...

I love the sentiment, but I think it's Romans 12:21. Sorry to be pedantic.

Mark W. Stephens said...

Thanks for posting Murray.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Anon 10:43 a.m.,

Thank you for the correction. I fixed it.