Almost Midnight Prayer
Two dogs, a cat, and one parrot, live in my house -- along with two excellent sons, and a kind and lovely wife. There used to be two large red-eared slider turtles, but that's a story for another time. In all, there are eight breathing beings, eight beating hearts, under our roof at night, much more of an abundance that I deserve.
It is hard to be alive, harder still to love, work, and soak in the enormity of life. It has been a struggle for me to be soft-hearted in this harsh world. Often my default is to be unkind to myself first, and to those I love second. My neighbor a dark and distant third. It is a daily-won victory, checking off the boxes before I close my eyes at night to pray to God that I have left a slice of kindness and love in the day just over my shoulder.
If we're fortunate, born into a loving family, we see the pattern before us. And still most of us wander off the path regularly, the teachings of Christ in the red letter bible blaze like neon into my dark heart. And still I wrestle, fuss, fight, with the gifts that are laid before me. All of us, safe and secure in my quiet and dark house, the breathing of my wife and children, the stirrings of the dogs and soft pounce of the cat. I'm aware of it all, treasure it, in its quick and fleeting beauty. And still I close my eyes, asking for forgiveness in my hard and short ways. Thank you Lord, unworthy as I am, to rest at five to midnight in Your grace again.