Letter (not email) to God:
Dear Lord, I pray you will consider the following requests, realizing that millions come your way daily, making it difficult to prioritize, but today is particularly special (you’ve probably heard that before) and meaningful:
I pray you will enable our veterans and their families to feel proud and appreciated for their service, oftentimes performed during dangerous foreign combat and the war on terror.
I pray you will comfort those suffering from the loss of their buddies and dealing every day with nightmares, cold sweats, guilt and chronic emotional stress.
I pray you will imbue families and friends with patience and understanding as they live with husbands, wives and children suffering from the physical and mental ravages and scars of war and acts of terrorism.
I pray you will give hope and solace to veterans coping with homelessness and estrangement from their families and friends.
I pray—and this well might be impossible—that you inspire common sense, compromise and compassion among nations and diverse civilizations—and their leaders—to preclude mortal conflict and the resulting veterans who have survived it.
In other words, Dear Lord, I pray for peace, repeating an entreaty that you have heard incessantly, and I must and do understand you can only do so much to alter the quarrelsome nature of the human condition. Though you must become frustrated with the frequent calls for peace and nearly impossible odds to achieve it, I humbly submit my sincere, well-intended request. I pray you won’t dismiss it as futile.
I pray, as I noted previously, that you will suffuse not just American but all leaders, wherever they rule/govern, with the ability to seek and embrace the proverbial “common ground” and assign the possibility of conflict to a list of undesirable, unhealthy options.
I pray, Dear Lord, that as the world approaches the Christmas and Hanukkah seasons, that you accept prayers for peace with simultaneous courses of grace-filled action to propagate harmonious relationships. Not just during this festive, open-hearted season, but throughout the year.
Dear Lord, please excuse my digressing and turning my attention away from our treasured veterans, as I pray that they rightly receive the spotlight, praise and comfort they so richly deserve.
I pray that the veterans will accept the public’s gratitude, though I know that it’s tough to acknowledge thankfulness from folks earnest but often uninformed about the challenges of serving our nation both in peacetime and wartime.
I pray that our nation pauses to think about our veterans and their families and understands that service to our nation not only is life-threatening but demanding in terms of constant discipline and teamwork, in many ways so different from civilian work.
Finally, dear Lord, I pray that you will continue to watch over and guide us flawed human beings to live peacefully and tolerantly and view grace and generosity as virtues that are never-ending and well worth nurturing.
Just one more prayerful request, Dear Lord: never allow us to ignore that peace and compassion matter far more than war and hatred, that love and understanding contribute to a better world.
I pray that we are wise enough to exclaim your goodness and watchfulness.
Thank you, Dear Lord.
Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland. Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer. In retirement, Howard serves on the boards of several non-profits on the Eastern Shore, Annapolis and Philadelphia.