Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Difficulty With Prayer

I get anxious when I try to pray. It’s always been a struggle for me, but it’s something that I’ve managed to ignore for most of my life by never really taking the time to try and formulate my own prayers. My prayer life relies on already written and well-worn prayers. Sometimes though, I feel like a prayer needs to be more personal, and then panic sets in. WHAT IF I LEAVE SOMETHING OUT?? 

I find myself making laundry list prayers, never being able to end it, just going through my mental list of all the people who are important in my life and all the people who are important in their lives and their dogs and cats and birds and anything else. It’s paralyzing, and it makes it very difficult to pray. I feel like if I do forget something, then it disappears in a vortex of lost prayers. Intellectually, I know this isn’t true, and the God I believe in doesn’t let prayers, even forgotten ones slip through the cracks. But it’s times like these when I hear about the struggles of my friends and family and the people they care about that I feel like I should pray with something more personal, and then the unnerving anxiety and thoughts that if I don’t say a prayer for this person then it’s a minus 1 point in their prayer quota column begin bubbling up like a volcano. Again, intellectually I know that there’s no heavenly prayer ledger book where prayers are added or subtracted and the final quota determines the outcome, but my overly rampant imagination is a bad influence on itself and keeps building on these wild doubts. 

The beauty of the Episcopal Church for me is that when I have absolutely no idea what to say, there are ready-made prayers right there. And when you feel more than words, there’s the music, which sometimes says it better than anything. So while prayer is still a source of fear for me, I am trying to work on it by paying attention to what’s been working for so many years in our church. So I think for now I’m going to try to relinquish the power, and use words written and music composed with such grace and feeling by our Episcopal brothers and sisters, and hope that God, our Mother and Father, gets what I’m trying to say.  

I leave you with a prayer from the Book of Common Prayer that I love

This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently. And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. Make these words more than words, and give me the spirit of Jesus. Amen. 

And with an incredible piece of music by composer Will Todd 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Medical Things!

I have been MIA for the past couple weeks, and for that I apologize, but there has been A LOT going on. One of my newest developments is that I’ve started volunteering once a week at the HIV/AIDS clinic associated with the Episcopal Church here in Honduras. The name of the clinic is “Siempre Unidos”, or “Always United,” which I just love. 

I’ve only been going for a few weeks, but already I’m falling in love with the people there. The people who work there are so caring and the patients have such great attitudes. Every morning, the patients and staff meet together in the waiting room to greet each other and discuss any upcoming events or activities. There is always laughter and discussion, and it’s so wonderful to see such a sense of camaraderie among them. This clinic is supported by donations and no patient is turned away. They pay what they can, when they can, if they can, and if they can’t, no one blinks an eye. What this clinic is providing is incredible. The medication is not cheap, and the disease is still highly stigmatized here. What this clinic is doing is providing a way for these people to live and control their disease, not be controlled by it. If you want to learn a little bit more about the clinic and its mission, you can visit the website siempreunidos.org. 

I had the opportunity to work with a medical mission for a few days this week in Puerto Cortes near the coast. This group has been coming for years to Honduras, and this year, they came not only to set up a clinic, but also to distribute water filters to the people attending the clinic. This is such a great example of self-sustainability. It's a wonderful thing that medical missions come frequently to Honduras and give their time, energy, and emotions to helping the people here, but what this group is trying to do is make the help more long-lasting. By giving out water filters, explaining the process, and challenging the people using the filters to share and teach other families how to work them, this group is working to lessen the number of people infected by bacteria found in the water here. The Episcopal Diocese is also working on opening this clinic every three months, so that there is continuity for the people making use of clinic.

I worked as a translator, although many of the people in the group spoke Spanish quite well. It was a great experience for me because I was able to learn new vocabulary and ask questions about specific cases. This was doubly exciting because I found out on Wednesday that I've been accepted to the University of Mississippi Medical School! It has put my experience with the clinic and the medical mission into a whole new perspective. After a few years of hard work and study, I can come back here with medical knowledge and help at a whole different level.

Sorry to all of my readers for the the blog hiatus, I am making a concerted effort to be more on top of things! Love you all. Hope all is well. Peace.