all to reveal a secret we can’t hide



during communal prayer at church, anyone can say anything.  i’ve heard mothers weep for children and homeless men go off on political rants.

last sunday i had a prayer in my throat.

but i think and rethink.  i wonder how i’ll say it.  i’m always writing my words.

finally i pray.

and as soon, as soon, as i quiet down a woman’s soft voice rises behind our pew and prays this:

“lord, have mercy on all the arrogant believers.”

we open

prayers continue to float across the room, but i know that she said that for me.

at least i think i know.

i’m the arrogant believer who  needs mercy.

i feel small and ashamed.  it bothers me.

our eyes

during the week i hear a sermon where the pastor talks about the rules not applying to everyone.  that some believers hold others to high standards but for themselves, the rules change.

don’t you watch that movie, but i can.
don’t you eat that dessert, but i will.
don’t you go on that website, but i do.
don’t say those words, but i will.

for that believer, the rules don’t apply.

“lord, have mercy on all the arrogant believers.”


by the middle of the week, the barely audible prayer for mercy feels more like a blessing than a curse.

one afternoon, i’m talking with the mormons on my front porch.  it’s the third or fourth time they’ve been by.  i’ve read the parts of nephi that they told me to and when they ask if i believe that the jesus in that story is the same one i know, i say no.

“no, i don’t think it is the same jesus.”

the sorrow that comes into the earnest eyes of those faithful young men almost makes me feel bad enough to change my mind.


later in the week, i sit with my friend in a car and we talk about forgiveness.  that we both need it.  i tell her that my faith, my messy, arrogant, bold, imperfect faith, is not just for me.

i tell her the truth when i say that i’m in the exact same boat as everyone else.  one beggar telling another where i’ve found bread.


today i’m wishing that after every prayer i pray there’d be a woman’s soft voice rising up somewhere from behind my back.

“lord, have mercy on all the arrogant believers.”

because i need it.

i’ve rarely known such an abuser of grace who tries hard and fails hard.  i’ve rarely known such a generous god willing to give his spirit to those who ask.

gratitude journal ~ one thousand gifts ~ 2293 – 2305

rental properties
this sun room
mazzy’s bald head
other lakes
one heart looking different now
green leaves
repenting of sin
sincere mormons
drew and dianne
de-stressing fights
basketball in the woods
fair rides

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