One Word, One Hundred and Eighty-Three Days

As of midnight this morning, we’re officially halfway through the year. One hundred and eighty-three days down and one hundred and eighty-three days to go. It was one hundred and eighty-three days ago—on January 1—that I chose my One Word for 2012: “Pray.”

Without prayer, I’m more likely to have a bad day. To get impatient, to lose my temper, and to be more disagreeable in general. I suffer, my family suffers, and my work suffers because of it. Prayer anchors me.

So I set out with the goal of praying everyday. After one week, I was doing great. After one month, I found myself struggling with it a bit. After one hundred days, I seemed to be in a rhythm. Lent certainly helped. Then came Easter and the inevitable post-Easter letdown.

The whole thing fell apart around the beginning of May.

But, as I told myself at the beginning of the year, I knew it would be a struggle at times: that I would find myself in the spiritual desert in which the very act of prayer would become too much. I would slip, falter, and fail.

And then I would get up and keep going.

Mt. Angel Abbey Church

Mt. Angel Abbey Church (Photo: Mt. Angel Abbey)

The monks of Mount Angel came to my rescue at Pentecost. I travelled to the Abbey for a weekend retreat; normally, the Retreat House would be closed over Memorial Day weekend, but the end of a seminar and a large family reunion kept the doors open and provided an opportunity for me to attend. A weekend in the rhythm of the Liturgy of the Hours brought me out of the desert and back to a spring of spiritual refreshment.

The last month I’ve gotten back on track again, not missing a single day of prayer. I know it won’t last—that I’ll stumble again at some point over the next 183 days—but I also know that when I stumble I’ll get back up again.

The one thing I won’t do is quit. And in not quitting, I will succeed.

It’s never too late to start (really, even with the year half over). If you want to try this out for yourself, go to One Word 365 and pick your own word for 2012. There’s over 500,000 to chose from!

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