Intention

evening meditation, 1.24.17, day 1/30

At night, as I’m falling asleep, 
I pray for Donald Trump. 
By which I mean: I try to pray for Donald Trump. 
It is hard for me to do this, because these days,
I am afraid and anxious and taut with fury.

It’s a strange paradox 
that these are the very emotional geographies 
from which so many prayers urgently rise up—

our foxhole panic, our garment-rending lamentations, 
our cries to be seen and heard and rescued, 
our ache for justice and mercy 
and some decisive, discernible
handwriting of Light across a confounding darkness—

and yet, that it is also hard sometimes to hear
the balm of blessed assurance 
or holy wisdom
or whatever
when all you can think about 
is how you wish this wasn’t happening at all.

But I felt the prompting: Pray for him. Just do it.
So, fine. I’m doing it.

I said, Okay, Jesus. I’ll try this thing. 
I will hold the intention 
for You to show up
and do whatever you need to do, 
thinking (hoping, I suppose)
that I could keep myself at a distance 
from the work of this work.

Then the next day, I see this:
The word intention
comes from the Latin intendere. 
In—
meaning “toward”—and
tendere—meaning “to stretch.”
Literally, to stretch out, 
to extend, 
to strain in quest of something.

To hold intention,

then, (as I struggle to pray for Donald Trump),

is to hold in tension:

my fear—and my trust;
the lack of control—and the surrender to That Which Holds All Things; 
my revulsion — and the truth that You are right there, in all things;
the bubbling of hate—and the still, small voice 
that says, over and over, urgent and tender,
Put your anger to better use; 
the suffocating feeling of helplessness — and the undeniable call
to rise up, open up, be an agent of determined, Divine action.

Always, like kneading dough and tending earth and lighting fires, 
like all sacred work, 
prayers are things that can change
not only the intended recipients,
but also the hearts that utter them.