This I Believe

Frances - Bellingham, Washington
Entered on November 9, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

At age 54, I have seen and done a lot. I’ve had a fun career, raised two interesting sons, given time and effort to public service, sustained 20 years of marriage, traveled, and developed numerous interests, hobbies, and passions. I have enjoyed nearly perfect health. Yet, somehow, a malaise, a discontent, a yearning has followed and troubled me for most of my life.

I used to speculate on the cause of this discontent: lack of attention from distracted parents, sex-role stereotypes, personal character weakness, my need for a mate.

I tried to satisfy this yearning in various ways. Alcohol (100) was my close friend. I searched for the perfect partner. I pursued the body beautiful via exercise. I read, took classes, watched movies. Quilting was my muse.

After many years, however, I have learned that the one reliable respite for my searching mind and heart is prayer – sustained, focused, daily prayer. I now believe that the yearning I feel is my need to know and love my Creator, and to be known by Him, through prayer.

I first gingerly turned my heart to God in my thirties, when an old friend called and said he had found Him. I thought, (200) if this fiercely intellectual man has found God, then maybe He is real after all. That evening, for the first time since childhood, I knelt and prayed, fervently begging God to reveal Himself to me. I said, “If you are there, I want you in my life.”

From that moment, each day felt newly charged. I read about Buddhism and Hinduism, and attended a church. I prayed sometimes, especially when in distress. Once, stranded in a Florida orange grove at sunset, I prayed to God to send someone to repair my car. Within minutes a man stopped, explaining that (300) he pulled over because he hoped someone would help his wife if she were in trouble. I knew God had heard me.

These kinds of experiences became more frequent, and I began to sense a newly-growing connection with Him. I talked to others about God, listening as they explained their personal search for Him. I read the Torah, the Koran, and the Hidden Words.

The Holy Books spoke of prayer – that sanctified conversation with God, where one gives oneself completely to the Creator, the Unknowable Essence. And, I began to pray –daily, intentionally, purposely, with love and hope and faith (400) that He would answer. And He did, in more ways than I can recount.

Now I pray every day, and I try to remember God in all I do. I pray to be a better person, to be stronger or more virtuous – patient with friends and children, loving towards my husband and coworkers. I pray for those who are troubled or in need. I pray for the community. But, most of all, I pray to praise Him and give thanks that He has entered my life, a life that once felt aimless and empty, and is now full of hope (500) and trust in Him.

I believe every soul yearns to know God, and every soul can, through prayer. All I did was turn to Him and ask, and He answered.