“Gaslighting must be making you crazy. For sure, somebody has been messing with your head,” zinged an accusation last week. Interestingly, my husband and I had just complained about others being tricked into incorrect thinking due to gaslighting. Opposite sides of the same coin left us a bit amused. (Gaslighting happens when someone seeking power tricks others into questioning their own reality.) Below, I share my thoughts, which may seem a bit over the top. I promise, no one has gaslighted me; whether right or wrong, these are my own considerations.
A few days ago, a friend from West Texas called anguishing over the riots, murders, and violence. As much as I wanted to console her, comfort seemed hard to come by. Pointing out that two 80-year-old white grandmothers probably can’t do much to eliminate riots and violence didn’t prove to be satisfying. My friend and I concluded that the most vigorous action we could take would be to pray for healing and peace in our nation.
I believe in prayer. Not only do I think prayer helps, but I am convinced that every word we speak; every thought we think provides the same impact as focused and formal prayer. I am convinced that our words and our thoughts emit energy. Negative, fearful prayers create negative energy and have the potential to make a situation worse. I perceive a difference in fearfully begging, “Please heal my sick child,” from a heart-felt, faith-filled
statement of, “Thank you that healing can now begin, and my child will someday be well and strong.”
We all know that we sometimes get “no” answers, even to our most fervent, positive prayers. I feel assured that loving thoughts combined with positive intentions never harm anyone. When considering the enormity of national challenges, perhaps our best bet will be to give thanks that although thoughts of reconciliation stagger us, national healing still remains achievable. I believe a key to the success of any prayer depends on each of us avoiding attachments to our own prescriptive outcomes. I recall that when I become fixated on an exact outcome, I usually set myself up for disappointment. Simply giving thanks for health, love, wisdom, honor, or integrity leaves the final result undefined. Conversely, when two or more of us hold conflicting images, our scrambled thoughts may weaken all requests.
On a personal level, I recall many times when the final result of a problem emerged into a much finer solution than I had hoped to achieve or receive. How many times did I experience initial disappointment only to later realize a much more satisfying ending? For example, a job offer that did not materialize left an opening for a much more satisfying position. A medical treatment I did not want created healing beyond all expectations. Even the sadness of death often opened doors to deeper communication and lasting acceptance.
I cannot know exactly how to solve complicated conditions. However, I believe that our most stubborn problems will someday be resolved, even if resolution takes many years of insult and injury. Lessons learned and forgiveness given often provide such astounding results that the length of time and the outpouring of energy will eventually be perceived as well worth the effort.
And so, during a time of painful disasters and numerous national conflicts, I pray for peace in this nation we all love.