Help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night
is a single mother who worked nine hours that day
and is rushing home to cook dinner,
help with homework, do the laundry
and spend a few precious moments with her children.
Help us remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested
young man who can’t make change correctly
is a worried 19-year-old college student,
balancing his apprehension over final exams
with his fear of not getting his student loans next semester.
Help us remember that the scary-looking bum,
begging for money in the same spot every day
is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.
Help us remember that the old couple
walking annoyingly slowly through the store aisles
and blocking our shopping progress
is savoring this moment,
knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week,
this could be the last time they go shopping together.
Help us remember that of all the gifts you give us, the greatest is love.
Remind us that it is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear.
Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity.
Let us be slow to judge and quick to show forgiveness, patience, empathy and
(Adapted from an anonymous prayer)