It came to me a few days ago as I was sitting in services at Circle of Miracles that perhaps praying to God is not the same thing as praying with God, since for me, God is not an outside (male) entity sitting on a literal throne somewhere way over yonder. Instead, my take (and I don’t ever tell anyone what to believe spiritually, including my son, since it is a personal and inside job) is that which we call by many different names is an energy that permeates all things and all beings, a creating and sustaining Source. As a minister and therapist, I am often asked why God allows tragic things to happen. My response, after taking a deep breath comes in the form of a few questions: What if God doesn’t make destructive, painful, or otherwise traumatic events occur, but rather is the way we get through it? What if we could see the challenges as a exercise equipment that make us stronger, more flexible and resilient people? How would it be if we made room in our belief systems that we pray along with God for whatever it takes to be resilient thrivers and grand celebrants of whatever we have learned from our experiences? Not always easy to do, I know. I have cared for an ill spouse, was widowed at 40, lost a home in Hurricane Andrew, raised a child solo, had an ectopic pregnancy, became an ‘adult orphan’ in the past 5 years, have worked for 30 years with folks with sometimes severe physical and mental health conditions, addictions, homelessness, abuse and trauma histories. Each time I have been faced with challenges, I have engaged my prayer muscles and moved through the muck and mire and around the boulders that seem sometimes impassable/impossible. It is such a paradox at times, to know how much of my own personal strength to utilize and how much to surrender to an even more enduring power. I have heard that the word EGO is sometime seen as an acronym for Edging God Out. I would prefer to partner with the Divine. What if indeed, we are God’s eyes, hands and heart and God needs our energy, intention and action as much as we need God’s guidance and sustenance and further, what if these things happen so that we can join together as people tend to do in times of crisis? We see it over and over how we humans rise to the occasion during floods, hurricanes and school shootings. What if, rather than waiting and mustering our resources then, we feed the collective soup pot and nourish each other along with the God of our understanding on an daily basis. Perhaps then we won’t need be putting out proverbial fires and feeling lost and alone, bemoaning our fate. Instead, we will be Higher Powered.