The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

December 14, 2013

Sharing a common pilgrim’s prayer

Keeping the faith

By Bev Davis

BECKLEY — Editor’s note: This column by the late Bev Davis originally was published Nov. 22, 2000. Davis passed away Aug. 1, 2010, of a sudden illness.

This year, I’ve met many pilgrims on the same path I seem to be traveling. Loving, caring, generous people who want to express gratitude through positive resolutions to problems. Warm, peace-loving folks who want to stifle the loud clamor of criticism and cynicism around them. Searching souls who believe there’s more to life than making money, social-climbing and stepping on others to reach a higher rung on the ladder of success.

We come from many faiths and from all walks of life, but we are kindred spirits bound by the belief that love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and self-control are the keys that open all the important doors in life.

If we had a common pilgrim prayer, it might read something like this:

“Thank you for giving me another day to try to undo some of the damage I did yesterday. Please help me avoid the same old tired mistakes, and make me think twice before I commit a new one.

“Thank you for being patient while I learn new lessons. It’s tough for us humans, sometimes. Someone has said life is hard because we get the tests first and the lessons later. Help me learn from my mistakes and please give me the grace to keep from repeating them.

“Thank you for showing us a better way to handle conflicts than by fighting, bickering, sniping and backstabbing. Please help us take the time to ask for guidance before we give in to these human tendencies. Make us willing to wait for the still, small voice that shows us a kinder, gentler way of making our points of view known.

“Thank you for times of silence that force us to look deep within and examine our motives. Please give us the courage to face the wrong attitudes within us and help us direct our energies toward battling the enemy within instead of the friend without.

“Thank you for surrounding us with so much beauty that even the pauper can rejoice in blue skies, sunshine, glass-top lakes, soft gray mountains and majestic landscapes. Please help us to be better stewards of the natural wonders you have given us, and show us new ways to develop our economy without squandering precious resources.

“Thank you for special occasions that bring us together with family members and friends. Make us good company this holiday season, and may others experience grace through us. Let our words be kind, and let our hearts be so filled with gratitude this Thanksgiving there will be no room for nitpicking, snide remarks and sarcasm.

“For all of these and countless other blessings you shower on us each day, we offer our deepest thanks and a fervent prayer that we will show our gratitude through lives that bless others.