Prayer on The Drive Home


A poem by Portia Nelson:

1) I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost . . . I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

2) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

3) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in . . . it’s a habit.
My eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately

4) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

5) I walk down another street.

……Well, at least I’m predictable. At least Portia is with me!

It would be nice if it only took five tries to find that I am not once again on that same street, in that same hole. Why is it so hard for us to change our behavior, particularly when we know our behavior is not good for us?

I was driving home, listening to the radio, flipping channels as I drove through snowy streets. One station was talking about teenagers and sexting and the commentators were having so much fun talking about boobs and other body parts. They were basically saying to the teenagers that they should not do what the commentators clearly thought was fun. The more shocking their comments, the better. They talked about sex like it was a sport event. I was annoyed. And disturbed. And glad my 10-year-old was not in the car.

I changed the channel.

“Satan is here,” the voice said. I decided I would listen a little longer. “All of those Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists can say they know about God, but one thing I know,” the commentator said, “is that Satan is real! He’s with me when I wake up and when I go to bed and even when I go work.” And then cackling laughter from the other commentators…..

I think this was a “Christian” radio station. I was annoyed. And disturbed. And glad that my 10-year-old wasn’t in the car.

I turned off the radio.

And I spoke to God.

Dear God,
This world you created is so messed up. We, your people are looking for answers on stupid radio stations instead of reading your Word, or even more shocking of an idea, being quiet and listening. We fill our days with meetings and events, with creating and producing and we forget to live. We have temptations and thoughts we don’t want to admit so we live false lives. We forget our true selves. We put on facades so that people don’t know we are lonely, or insecure, or angry. We like to pretend. We want to blame someone for this, so it must be Satan. He or She makes us do things we know we shouldn’t. It’s not our fault.

Lord, in your mercy. Forgive our inability to take responsibility
for our actions,
for not seeing that our sin is ours and not anyone else’s,
for not loving ourselves as you do,
for not seeing others as you see them,
for thinking we have it all together and we don’t need you.

Give us the grace to be honest with ourselves and each other. Give us the wisdom to see when we are stuck, and give us the courage to walk another way.

And, lastly Dear God, do something about the radio.


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