With the exception of the year I spent working in Dallas, I have been surrounded by students since I entered college fifteen years ago. There is something invigorating about this, but I've also tended to move toward a state of cynicism where young people are concerned. Their idealism can seem especially naive'. Because they know they only have a small amount of time in the stage of life they are in, they can come across as pushy and impatient, needing to impact people around them as quick and forcefully as they possibly can. It's hard for young people to take the long view of things.
Case in point: A couple of weeks ago someone recited at THIS SERVICE what I will call The Prayer Heard Around the World, (or, at least the prayer heard around the vicinity of I-35.) I was at the service, but I don't remember noticing anything strange about it, other than perhaps it was delivered with a certain amount of passion consistent with the personality of the guy praying. To be honest, I often take the prayer time as an opportunity to look around at people, or possibly contemplate where I'll eat lunch after church. Later in the week, however, I found out that everyone was talking about it because of it's politically-charged content. When told what was said, I immediately thought yeah, I have a problem with that.
But I believe I had a growing-up experience as well. I connected the person with the prayer and realized that some people, like this guy who I consider a cordial acquaintance, by virtue of their service and compassion for people, get more free passes from me than others. As long as there is enough people in a community who serve as a balance by standing up and bitching about what they consider uninformed youthful zeal (and assuming there are leaders who are not threatened by this,) does it hurt to have someone say a prayer that is slightly misguided, but that at least makes us think and may nudge us out of our comfortable existences?
Earlier this afternoon I was listening to that Rob Thomas song Little Wonders from some kids movie that I have yet to see. It's one of those songs that tries to remind you the things that are really important. As I was listening, I found THIS STORY on the Waco Trib's website about a woman who was killed in a traffic accident at an intersection that I cross several times a week. I was stricken and finally realized that maybe taking the long view of things IS the uninformed way to live. What if there is no long view? Our lives are made in the twist and turns of fate, in the small hours, not in decades but in moments.
I think it was Ann Lamott that said we have to all make up our minds-- Is life too short to be minding shit, or is it too short to be taking it? Well, I've yet to decide which it is for me, but I do believe life is short regardless of what you pray for. So understand that things will be made more clear as time rolls along, but don't let fear stop you from praying with passion out of the depths of your right now.