Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

"In all time of our tribulation, in all time of our prosperity, in the hour of death and the day of judgement, good Lord deliver us."
--from the Great Litany

Allow me to introduce you to my cousin Jay (I've changed his name for privacy's sake.)

Jay's life has been far from perfect. Like a lot of Gen X'ers in rural NE Missouri, once upon a time he got messed up in the world of crank, aka Methamphetamine. But by nothing short of a miracle, he left that world and was one of the first people in the area to successfully complete the "drug court" program. That was four years ago. He has been clean ever since, and is gainfully employed, and met and married a great gal he met in rehab. They have a kid, a house, great jobs, and look just like any young American couple now (except for a little overload on tattoos ).

Jay is presently in the middle of trying to get custody of his other two kids, from a previous relationship. His previous flame recently got busted on felony charges. If she gets incarcerated, he has a good chance of getting them...but if she gets something like suspended imposition of sentence/probation/etc., probably nothing will change. (The odds of her being found Not Guilty are quite slim, to say the least.)

This creates quite a prayer dilemma for me. I gave up praying for specific outcomes years ago because it sounded too much like a wish list to Santa. Besides, as tempting as the concept is to me at times, it just seems inherently wrong to pray, "Oh, God, please put that nasty skank in the slammer so Jay can get his kids."

The hell of it is, I HAVE prayed that she sense the presence of God and respond to it. But right now, I have trouble not qualifying it with, "...after she goes to the hoosegow."

I have prayed that the kids feel some sort of permanence in the world, that they see beyond the upheaval in their lives. But in the last few weeks, I can't even do that. Every time I think about this situation, I am filled with so much anger and frustration, I feel my prayers are not in earnest. My own baggage gets in the way to the point I feel my connection with God has hit a brick wall. I realize this is not God's fault, but my own. It is simply the underpinnings of the more broken parts of my own childhood throwing up barriers. Pain that I thought was long dead in my life, suffering I thought I was long "over" has crawled out of the pit where I store all my Heart of Darkness issues and back into my frontal lobe.

All I have been able to do is repeat that phrase from the Great Litany over and over..."In all time of our tribulation, in all time of our prosperity, in the hour of death and the day of judgement, good Lord deliver us." It is the best I can do at this point, and I think I have repeated this phrase hundreds of times in the last three weeks. I can do this because I can accept that this scenario faces me both with prosperity and tribulation all at the same time. Prosperity in that my family has Jay back, when we once consigned him to "lost" in the hell of Methworld. Tribulation in that his children have no stability, no anchor. This prayer is all I can do. I wish I could do better.



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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