There is a prayer by Thomas Merton that gives me strength at all times:
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”
– Thomas Merton
I find such encouragement from this prayer because I am in that moment. I do not know what is in the future. I am not sure that what I am doing is pleasing to God. All I can say is I am doing the best I know how at this point in my existence. I am trying with all my heart to follow all the opportunities that God presents in my life even if I know nothing about them yet. We cannot predict the future and although it all seems great now we don’t know what is right beyond that turn in the road. All we can do is try to please God with our lives, trust in His love for us and be the people He created us to be in the here and now.
I love that prayer too, Lori, and have given it to many people. Merton is always on my mind this time of year because he died on December 10. I have been to Gethsemani the last two summers for a weekend of silence (the greatest thing ever!) and he is buried just outside the retreat house. He died in Bangkok and is the only monk, I think, who is buried in a coffin, because it took so long to get his body back to the US.