Prayer Upon Losing a Job

Creator, Sustainer, Creator Anew,
it is also true of me
that my work is mostly who I am.
I know myself in my qualifications.
I am alive when I am useful,
and this morning I have nothing to do.

Oh, I can pretend I'm on vacation.
I can head for the hills
with my sleeping bag and tent.
I can go to the movies.
I can play a little golf.

Or I can paint the screens
or dig in the garden
or prune the scraggly ivy
and gather the clippings into a pile
and take two hours for lunch
and nap all afternoon.
But none of this is fun
if you don't have a regular job.

O God, protect me from feeling I am absent.
Reduce the swell of discouragement
that rises and wrecks my day.
Have mercy, for I cannot be idle
and feel I am pleasing you.

Now take away my resentment
of carpenters, janitors, tailors, all at work,
and kids selling papers on the street.
End my jealousy of neighbors
who get into their cars
and head for the rotten commute.

Calm me as I read the morning paper
and come to the help wanted ads.
Steady my nerves
as I dial for appointments.
Control my rage
as I fill out ridiculous forms.
Comfort my grief
for my tiny cluttered office,
for the desk I deplored,
for my squeaky chair,
and the bothersome details of my former work.

Sooner rather than later, I pray,
help me to see this as a chance
to make a worthy change.
Give me a glimpse of who I am
apart from what I do.
And grant me a courage
I never thought I would need
to rise at a reasonable hour
and have a good breakfast and bathe.