I Am Happy Because I Remember Myself! Part 2: The Beginning
Prayer is when you are talking to your best friend, telling him everything that you are worried about. Because God is your best friend.— Sean Dragon
The Power of Prayer
Since I was a young boy, I have realized the power of prayer. It has been an implement that was helping me to escape anxiety and fear, to calm down and fill up optimism about what was going to follow. For a reason I could not explain then, I was sure that someone always listens to my prayers, someone who loves me and cares for me a lot. Someone who could forgive the mistakes I continually made, the promises I frequently reneged.
The first substantial evidence that this is true came when I was at the age of sixteen. Then after my prayers that were full of will and faith, a personal miracle happened! A miracle that changed me and determined my future as it became the starting point of a blessed life that led me to what I am today. That's why I always thank those specific prayers which I believe were the beginning of my present happiness.
After that miracle, I was confident that God listens to all my prayers and prepares the best for me. Much better than the best I could imagine! During my life, there have been proofs of His love again, many times, and that is why my perception of God gradually changed. He stopped being a distant presence in the sky sitting on a throne and judging, as I had been taught until then. He became an affectionate Father who could secure me in His arms every moment and calm me down, giving me the power to continue my struggle. He became my best friend who knew everything about me, both good and bad. A friend whom I did not need to hide anything from, I didn't have to pretend that I am someone else to make Him love me because He always loved me and He was listening to me no matter how big my mistakes were. And the truth is that I made a lot of them and huge ones!
A Magical World Where Prayers Live
There was a very dark period in my life; a time that I betrayed everything in the worst way. I had betrayed the people I loved, the people who trusted me, my principles and everything I thought that was defining me. But most of all I felt that I had betrayed His own faith to me. It was a period when I began to get lost in my shame, my guilt, and self-pity, and to move away from Him because I thought I did not deserve His Love anymore. I had become a Judas in my mind, and that led me into the darkness, far from His Light that I was accustomed to illuminating my life.
But then I realized one more time and beyond any doubt the power of prayer. I understood that every prayer we say to bless and serve, any prayer full of love and faith is never lost. Even if it fulfills its purpose, it continues to live in a magical world where prayers live, and it keeps an eye on us.
When we find ourselves in such a situation as the one I was, all our old prayers join together their powers, and they locate another prayer, a prayer that someone else has done for us, they fill this one with their energy and light, and then it changes our life. This is one of the supreme laws of the Universe; every good we do will return to us multiplied. The same applies to prayers. Every prayer we say for someone else's sake will somehow support us when we find ourselves in a time of need.
Every time you pray, the prayer becomes a magical creature in the World of Prayers, and it protects you forever with its magical power.— Sean Dragon
The Prayers of My Beloved Partner
That's how the prayers of my beloved partner worked. My wife's belief in me and in everything kind she had seen and loved in me, strengthened her prayers. Those prayers found the way, the means, and they used my old prayers as "allies," and so they managed to bring me back from the hell where I, and only I, I had closed myself. There was a series of incidents, which in the order they happened, and the entire redemptive conditions they created, only as a miracle can be considered to me.
It has no meaning to describe all those incidents because, without the knowledge of the whole story, they make no sense. But I will mention one of these, because, in fact, is the reason that led me to my "hobby" to write aphorisms that will remind me who I really am and who I want to be. Who I am not and who I do not want to become. These are the "signs" we mentioned in the first part of this series (link to part 1).
One night, of that dark period, I was spinning on my bed unable to sleep. My heart was heavy, and my mind was confused. I once again accused myself of how I reached this point. I wished there was a way to delete everything and to begin from the start again. To erase all the pain I had caused to people whom I supposed to love. I thought that I would give everything, even my life, to get rid of this pain, and with that thought, after a long time, I burst into tears. I turned around and sank my head into the pillow so that I did not wake up my wife who was sleeping beside me. I was crying silently for a long time, trying to wash away with my tears, the shame which was suffocating my soul, and at some point, the tears were drained, and I fell asleep, dropping off to the world of dreams.
I was in a dark room, sitting in a corner, with my hands on my face. Then I heard a voice telling me:
“Since you do not sleep, why don't you pray?”
It had been a long time since the last time I prayed; it seemed to me that centuries had passed. Full of shame I answered to this voice:
“Do I have any right to pray? I have lost this right after all those terrible things I have done.”
And the voice answered:
“The same thing believed the thief on the cross beside Jesus. Fortunately, however, only one of the two believed so.”
That shocked me enough. The first thing that came to my mind, for some reason, was egoism. Then a second voice followed:
“How selfish can you eventually become?”
I jumped up, and I stammered:
I saw him in front of me, my beloved teacher, looking at me with a stern gaze. My heart was hammering like crazy. I hadn't seen him for a very long time, and the truth is that I had believed that I wouldn't see him never again.
“What do you think? Do you think that you are superior and you are not allowed to make mistakes?” he told me even more strictly, and continued:
“Now is the time for a great victory. Win the mental pride that brought you here. Stand up against the ego that has deceived you into thinking that the spiritual level you have reached is above the mistakes. Fall on your knees, humbly apologize and forgive yourself. Use this experience to become better and wiser to help the world around you.”
I fell on my knees and said:
“Master, I cannot forgive myself if He does not forgive me!”
“Oh, you foolish egoist, you are making a great mistake,” he yelled at me. “The exact opposite is true. He cannot forgive you if you do not forgive yourself!”
Suddenly the room filled with light, a beautiful light that was everywhere without any apparent source seen somewhere, and I heard a voice filling the room, like the light, from all over. At that moment I realized that both the light and the voice had their source in me, at the place of my heart and that's why I felt they filled the room without their source being shown. And the voice said:
"My beloved child, why did you stop talking to me?"
I fell back on my knees and burst into tears. I could not speak. I wanted to say so much, but only sobs were coming out of my soul. The voice continued:
"Calm down and answer me to this. You have a good friend; he is your best friend. One day he comes to you and tells you that he has done something like the harm you did. He tells you that he could not forgive himself, that has no longer right to be your friend after he had betrayed your love, and that you should abandon him. What would you do then?"
I raised my head, and without hesitation, I replied:
"I would hug him tightly, and I would tell him that the beauty I have seen in him and my love for him cannot change by any mistake he has made, no matter how big it is. I would tell him that in this world we live in, no one is ready to live his life without mistakes because then it would no longer belong to this world. I would say to him that you can never betray love because love is above mistakes, it corrects all errors. I would, therefore, ask him to forgive himself, to face with honesty the responsibilities and to let me support him with my love to go beyond the mistakes, to sanctify them through love and repentance and so to make them valuable weapons for the continuation of this adventure called life. I would tell him that one thing only I could not forgive, not because I would not want, but because he would not allow me to do it. That would be to leave himself to be lost in self-pity and misery with the result to deprive the world of all those beautiful virtues it could offer."
The words were coming out of me as if they wanted to free for a long time now!
His voice answered me:
“Thank you, my beloved child, my good friend, because you told yourself the words I have been saying to you so many times now, in many ways, but you did not listen to them. All this time I have left around you signs, trying to show you that I cannot forgive you because you do not ask me to do it, not because I do not want it. But you no longer had your eyes open to see them. Thus, they brought me here the prayers of the one who loves you more than her life and is sleeping beside you. They brought me here your prayers, prayers that you have said so many times for the welfare of other people, even people you never met. They brought me here to ask you to let me forgive you in order to go on together and to create more good than the harm you caused. Because you should remember this, what it matters is the sum of your life, not the parts of it alone, or some of your actions. You cannot, as you would say to your friend, live without making mistakes, big mistakes. But you have to struggle to make up for them, creating good multiple of the harm these mistakes cause. That's why you're here, to learn how to correct evil with good. Therefore, learn to forgive, and first of all, learn to forgive yourself, with responsibility and honesty. Guilt is the weapon of the dark side; the repentance is the weapon of the Light. And always remember; remember with every breath you take, that I love you beyond your mistakes. I love you as if you were my only child; I love you as if you were my best friend, I love you because you are a part of Me. We are One.”
I opened my eyes. It was dawn. I sat up and looked at my life companion beside me. She was asleep. I bent over and gently kissed her cheek. She moved a little and muttered something.
"Shh!" I whispered. "Sleep, it's still early, I love you very much!"
She half-opened her eyes and looked at me giving me a beautiful smile. She closed her eyes and slept again, while the smile stayed on her lips.
I got up quietly and went to the place where she was keeping her painting gear. I took some cardboard and paints and started to make the first "signs" to remind me of the way I wanted to follow from here and now. I had a lot to write. The first one I wrote was:
About the rest, we will talk at the third part of this series.
To be continued...
© 2018 Ioannis Arvanitis