Prayer of an Unknown Confederate Soldier
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things,
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for – but everything that I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoiled prayers were answered.
I am among all men, most richly blessed.
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The Echo of this Prayer
This has been a favorite poem of mine for many years. But more so now. My mother died a year ago this month. She was my companion and I was her caregiver for over 16 years. I did not reckon on two things that happened then. Simultaneously it was like I was body-slammed by grief and blindsided by type 2 diabetes. Plus, all my adult life I have suffered from headaches due to severe sinus problems and allergies. Sometimes they are incapacitating.
During the years that Mom lived with us, I taught an adult women’s Sunday school class and, later, visited at a nearby nursing home where I had started doing family trees for those who were interested and was planning a group Bible study. These were activities that got me out of the house and in touch with other people. They were a great blessing to me.
However, my heart has always been a gypsy. I long for travel and adventure. Twice, Mike and I have planned to take to the road. The first time, just before “take-off”, when I was 47, Dad was diagnosed with cancer and Mom had become completely mentally incapacitated. We moved to Alabama in 1995 to live beside them and care for them. When Dad died in 1999, Mom moved in with us. About a year before Dad’s death, we gave up the dream of travel and bought our home and property here. But the dream of freedom was always on the back-burner for us. The property was our investment against that future day.
But as Mom’s health claimed more and more of my time and energy, I had to give up the Sunday school class and the visits with the elderly. The Bible study never materialized and I became almost as home-bound as my mother. I did not realize then that my own lack of strength and energy was due as much to my own health as to the overloaded days.
However, back in February of this year I started this blog at my husband’s suggestion. I’ve never loved a telephone, e-mail is optional for me, and Facebook is still a spaced-out place that often irritates me. Though I prefer face to face, one on one, person to person and in person, the next best thing is writing and sharing my thoughts and experiences. It helps me focus. I enjoy writing about things that are exciting, beautiful, touching, or thought-provoking, or simply sharing emotions and feelings that will let someone else know they are not alone. God loves us, you and me, and he sends blessings in all kinds of ways.
Yes, the property that was to “buy” our freedom is a victim of today’s market. Our old RV still sits under the trees out front like a tattered ghost of Summer Past. It hasn’t moved since the day we arrived. It’s strength, like mine, has slowly been nibbled away by squirrels and chipmunks and has been home to our old odds and ends. But that unknown soldier in gray whispers his verse to me sometimes that I haven’t seen the end result. God is not finished with me yet.