From Here I Pray

On the Saturday following the presidential election, I was driving through Washington D.C.  While stopped at a red light, I looked to my right and found myself staring at the White House.  Immediately past the traffic light was a parking space, so I pulled in.  I walked to a park bench in Lafayette Park and lit a cigar, an Oliva Nub for those who follow such things. 

I just sat and thought about the election, and what it meant.  I pulled out my Blackberry and began to tap.  About 45 minutes later, I had finished the cigar, and a prayer.  I sent it to some friends.  They sent it to some friends.  Eventually, it was published in the East Cobber, in East Cobb Georgia.  The prayer is reprinted here in it’s original form.  (Minor changes were made to the version that appeared in the East Cobber):

I sit in front of the White House, the ultimate symbol of my government, just four days after a most historic election, and from here I pray.

From here I pray for our new leader. May God bless Mr. Obama with wisdom and strength, insight and fortitude, and the ability to lead our nation through perilous waters and calm.

From here I pray for our current President. May God grant Mr. Bush peaceful respite from the burdens of power, and serenity from his belief that he did what he thought was right, for better or worse.

From here I pray for the insight of perspective, that in days to come we will better understand these past eight years and where we are today.

From here I pray for the citizens of the world. May we all inhabit a planet that fosters the best in humanity, and seek to overcome the worst in human nature.

From here I pray for my fellow countrymen. May we come to realize that there are no “my” problems or “your” problems, but only “our” problems, that we will solve together or suffer accordingly.

From here I pray for the supporters of Mr. Obama. May they celebrate their victory with prideful humility and suppress the urge to settle scores. We all need a leader, not just the ones who voted for the victor.

From here I pray for those who supported another. May they set aside distrust and disappointment and help to bring an end to the visceral anger or hatred that permeates all too much of our society.

From here I pray for those who hate. Whether the hate is based on skin color or views, beliefs or background, may God open their minds and heal their hearts, and may each generation hate less and love more.

From here I pray for those who are hated. May God ease their pain and heal their wounds, and may they find the wisdom and compassion to practice forgiveness, whether those they forgive deserve it or not.

From here I pray for my family and friends. May they enjoy peace and prosperity, health and happiness. And if they cannot fix the problems of the world, may they at least be part of the solution. May they help make their own part of the world better by their presence.

From here I pray for my dear wife. May God grant us many more years together and allow us to celebrate much happiness and appreciate our blessings.

From here I pray for my children. May they never lose their youthful idealism. May they always work to make their world better than they found it. May they come as adults to where I pray, and find that this house, the People’s House, remains a symbol of all that is great about this country I love, and the people who make it so.

From here I pray.

Bret Keisling,

The White House, November 8, 2008