Friday, June 06, 2008

The Prayer in My Soul

A question that has been asked in several forms and by several people during the last few months has concerned Unitarian Universalism and personal crisis. What do we turn to, what gives us strength?

Well, like everything personal in this religion, we each have to find our own answers.

For me, I continue to find heart-healing in this faith. On the way to clinic or the hospital, I have been listening to Spirit of Life, sung by the Orange County Unitarian Universalist choir. (See iTunes.)

For me, Carolyn McDade's song is more than a hymn. It is a prayer that resonates deep in my soul. Quite simply, it keeps me going. It helps with the whole putting one-foot-in-front-of-the-other thing.

Here's what it means to me:

Spirit of Life, come unto me.
Come to me, God, the Universe, Transcending Mystery. It is so hard to hear your voice right now. Through these hurricane gusts and hailstorms of questions, sometimes all I can hear is a roar.

Sing in my heart all the stirrings of compassion,
Those who think of us, pray for us – help me to feel the love they send. Open my eyes to those around me who need my thoughts, my prayers. Exchange the bitterness in my soul for love and gratitude.

Blow in the wind, rise in the sea;
I can’t tell where I’ll be when the pain will come; as I go, step by step, on this road, the hurt comes when least expected, the confusion when I expect to feel calm. May that connection to All That Is, come also from the unexpected.

Move in the hand, giving life the shape of justice.
Take my hands, my voice, and give them the direction to do what is right. To not be blinded by my pain to the pain of others; may my hands help someone else to carry their burdens.

Roots hold me close; wings set me free:
May I turn to those I love, finding joy and comfort in them. Let me draw strength from the places I have already been and my own core spirit. Help me to escape that which drags me down, to see hope, to see the future, to see an unencumbered day.

Spirit of life, come to me, come to me.
Hold me. Hold me.


Berrysmom said...

Today I have been thinking about you a lot. One of the women in my YMCA water aerobics class brought her daughter with her, a lovely 16 year old who looked so much like LW that I did a double take. My immediate thought: "This is what LW will look like when she's sixteen." That made me feel good! Hope it works for you, too.

My brother, who is a professional photographer, is starting a chapter of "Flashes of Hope," which is a non-profit organization of photographers and make-up artists who go to hospitals and take professional-quality photographs of children being treated for cancer. Their web site is and you can see some photos there -- they are wonderful!

So of course I thought of you again. I read your blog every day and think of you a lot. "Love Through Action" is a constant motivator for kindness, though I haven't done anything worthy of writing about and posting; nevertheless it's in my heart all the time. As are you and your family.

I hope that we will meet some day. I am proud to call you a colleague.

jess said...

This is so very lovely -- I feel much the same way when I hear or sing this song. It was one of the first UU "rituals" in my first congregation that spoke deeply to me, and called me into this faith, and keeps me here now.

ms. kitty said...

Spirit of Life never fails to bring me peace and hope when I sing it. It reaches down deep in me and guides me to a place that is calmer and more centered; I almost always have to blink back tears.

Julia said...

Thank you for sharing your reflections on "Spirit of Life" I was crying by the time I finished reading this. I first heard the song at Woman Spirit Gathering at Lake Geneva in the late 1980's when UU women from all over North America came together to celebrate.
May I have your permission to quote you. I would like to use your words when we explain to people how our UU faith helps us in dealing with my husbands Stage IV metastatic cancer.

Lizard Eater said...

Julia, I am honored. Please feel free to use anything you would like.

I'm sorry that your husband is dealing with the beast. Strength and peace for the both of you.

Masasa said...

Thank you for sharing. What a beautifully heartful reflection on each line. The song, for me too, speaks deeply. A colleague shared her reflections on our "gray hymnal" as one of our only bits of UU universally shared scripture, if you will. I thought that was interesting.

uumomma said...

LE: After tomorrow's RE service, I'm leading a father's day service next Sunday (don't ask me why). May I borrow this? I'd like to use it on Father's Day. If i can speak it without crying.

Lizard Eater said...

UUMomma ... please use away. I like the thought of being with you in some way, Father's Day.

Not sure whether to tell you this or not ... if you reach a point where you just are ready, ready to cry some more, download "I Still Can't Say Goodbye" by Chet Atkins. Or go here:

It's beautiful. And honest. And heartrending.