A commuter's prayer

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

I work near the Prudential Center in Boston, where some huge new buildings are being constructed. A few days after the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, I was looking up rather intently at one of these buildings, and then caught the eye of a passerby. Anxiously, she said, "What are you looking at?" She was fearful of another attack.

I couldn't blame her; I also was afraid. I found myself carefully examining the elevated highway I take to work and asking, "Is it safe if there's a terrorist attack?"

No engineering reports or governmental reassurances can provide total comfort. But what I found most helpful as I worked my way through my fears is neatly summarized in the book of Psalms: "The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore" (121:8). For me, this is a kind of "commuter's prayer." It tells me that no matter where I am in the course of my day (going out or coming in), God is there, preserving and protecting me.

By saying this, I'm not implying that I somehow have a kind of "holy glow" over my car or that God loves me more than He loves other people. Rather, it means that I endeavor with all my heart to hear God's direction, which often comes as intuitive guidance. In fact, after the Sept. 11 attacks, this conviction that God would be with me no matter what happened was what enabled me to continue driving on that elevated highway, even though I was still scared.

Two other ideas helped me. The first was really a recollection - that Spirit, God, is everywhere and loves all of His creation, including you and me and everyone else. This love permeates each aspect of our day, and we can feel and experience its presence if we actively look for it. And because you and I are Spirit's creation, we are spiritual and need to look at life from this standpoint.

Spirit, being pure Love, does not include fear or evil of any kind. Nothing in Spirit can hurt us. And because Spirit is everywhere, its love is unbreachable by evil. To me, this meant that as I identified with my spiritual nature, I would experience more peace. I thought of how brave Christ Jesus was, even when he was surrounded by enemies who intended to kill him directly. This was no theoretical threat, but God guided him through the crowd to safety. Could I be brave enough to follow his example and trust God?

That this trust is not an abstract idea, but one with real authority, is brought out by Mary Baker Eddy in a letter she wrote to a church. Explaining the importance of trusting God, she wrote, "Thus founded upon the rock of Christ, when storm and tempest beat against this sure foundation, you, safely sheltered in the strong tower of hope, faith, and Love, are God's nestlings; and He will hide you in His feathers till the storm has passed. Into His haven of Soul there enters no element of earth to cast out angels, to silence the right intuition which guides you safely home" ("Miscellaneous Writings," pg. 152).

This thought of a safe place provided by God, and the "right intuition," really meant a lot to me. In the past, I had felt this kind of guidance - for example, while driving home just minutes ahead of a hurricane. My work had kept me from getting to safety more quickly, and as I drove on streets that would normally have been busy, my car was the only one on the road. It was a very strange feeling, to put it mildly. Less than five minutes after I walked into the house, the storm hit with all its violence. My prayers had given me the "right intuition" about the route to take that literally brought me safely home.

As I recalled these times when God had helped me, and accepted the Bible's promise that He would always be there - no matter what the human outcome would be - I felt at peace. No, I don't know what will happen each time I go out or come in, but I do know that God will be there and will guide me. And because He loves all of us, He is there for you, too, no matter where in the world you live or when or how you go out or come in.

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