I should be in bed asleep, but I had a thought before I go to bed. I thought about all the prayers I ought to say: a prayer for the United States, that we be not just happy and well off but that we be a good people, a brave and just people; a prayer for Israel, that somehow Israel overcomes its present crises and it and the Palestinians come to a happy two-state solution; for the people of Syria, suffering and yet it is partly the United States’ fault that this is so; and Ukraine, suffering under the weight of the tyrant Putin’s invading forces. However, as often happens with me, my prayers are selfish and come back to myself. So I write:
God, Judge me not just on who I am
But on who I want to be.
Judge me based on my heart’s desires
Don’t look at where I fall short of You.
You, Lord, live in my holiest thoughts.
I hope this prayer speaks to somebody else besides me. I have often wished to be a better person than who I actually was. I think it is the common lot of human beings, or as Thoreau put it, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Each one of us wants to stretch out our hands to reach the light peering down on us from the sky. I doubt there is a single person who has not felt like Gregor (the bug) in Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” or longed for the joy of meeting their messiah on Judgment Day–whoever the messiah is in their religion. I refuse to believe that these extremes are in my head merely because I have Bipolar. No, I am convinced that ordinary people are–to paraphrase Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago— “half angel and half devil.” Yet we all hope to be among God’s chosen.
Though I hope to be good in my private life, I also long to write the book that justifies my life… or rather, the books… Yet that book will be more than just any book, it will be Paradise Lost or Leaves of Grass or Emily Dickinson’s poems… It will be The Olde Curiosity Shoppe or Jane Eyre or The Brothers Karamazov… It will be A Dream of Red Mansions or The Waiting Years… Literature is holy and profane at the same time… Yet in my heart even literature does not contain the entirety of my dreams… it only helps me portray the images which for me are holy.