There are some things in life that will only be given to you through prayer alone, and there are other things that will never darken your door unless you get off your fat fanny and do something. It takes wisdom to know when to wait patiently in prayer and when to take a flying leap of faith.
I’m not saying that prayer and action are mutually exclusive. Sometimes, you pray and act, but there are also clearly times when people are called to one or the other. Jesus’ disciples were told to wait prayerfully until the power of the Spirit descended upon them. Then, after Pentecost, they acted via that majestic power. I think we all struggle with the tension between passivity and activity because passivity may very well condemn us to a life of no new solutions. Yet, activity, if it lacks discernment, may just complicate our lives with new problems.
Every year, people make New Year’s resolutions. In a way, these resolutions begin as prayers and are supposed to evolve into action. People desire for something new to happen in their lives. So, they make bold, bombastic statements that are meant to be pregnant with action, but often times are just filled with hot air. Secretly, I think most people wonder if resolutions are just impotent attempts at making other people believe they are actually trying. What people are really waiting for is some kind of game-changing epiphany that will unlock their problems in a very real way.
Christians historically have celebrated Epiphany at the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Those twelve days bridge the old year into the new one. As we leave 2019 and march vigilantly into the Year 2020, my New Year’s resolution is to be a bridge for others into those kinds of epiphanies by sharing the discoveries I have made along the way during my lifelong struggles with weight gain, depression, and broken relationships. To help articulate that resolution, I have written the following poem:
Oh, I’ve banged on the anvil of time and space with the white hot hammer of a white dwarf’s rage. I’ve aimed to bend relationships to meet my own ways, leveraging the wit of a white-hooded mage. And I’ve walked into the fires of a blue star’s hell, as if they were life-giving waters inside a drinking well. Yeah, I’ve prayed prayers that even seemed blasphemous to some with the blazing passion of a thousand dying suns. And then I was met with a resounding “no” from the universe and God and the silence of snow. With despair and dismay upon this mortal sod, I tipped my hat, and I gave it a nod.
Y’all, I’m talking about weight loss… and so much more. So, give me a listen, and I’ll show you the shore, where seashells glisten with heavenly lore. Yeah, I’ll show my fellow fatties how to lose weight, using stories from my life to avoid that fate. And I’ll lead you out of depression in the very same way because I’ve stared into the Abyss and fallen deep into its gaze. I’ll shepherd you through the valley of long lost faith, and show you how the Phoenix rises from its staith. There is hope for the many who believe hope is lost under layer after layer of unthawed frost. And there is love for the wretches, the lepers, and whores, who have worn scarlet letters like never-ending chores. In the Year 2020, where the vision is clear, may each and every one of you have a happy new year.
PAUL MICHAEL JONES is an artist who currently dabbles in music, photography and creative writing.