Dear God,

I know we don’t talk much.  Seems like your time is better spent worrying about bigger things than me.  I do always appreciate your willingness to listen.  And even though I’m not entirely certain who “you” are, I take comfort in the idea that you exist.  There are times, however, when I struggle to understand your intentions.  My wife likes to say that, “everything happens for a reason.”  It seems to me that the reality is more basic, that “everything simply happens.”  The reason has always been a bit less clear.  I know there is a bigger picture – a delicate balance to life.  I understand that happiness could not exist without pain and that indifference is where life loses meaning.  I understand that sometimes all we get are the questions.  Though it’s in our nature to seek the answers, they are not always immediately available to us.

Today my prayer is tempered because I am upset.  I want to be angry.  I want to be indifferent and I want answers.  I want to reside in downbeat emotions because they are easy.  I want answers because I can’t accept that there aren’t any.  Not this time.  Not when so many people are sad.  Today, Thanksgiving Day,  I want to believe that everything happens for a reason.  I want to know that a young life did not end in vain and that there is some purpose to this life?  And so I pray, publicly, hoping that my words will be heard.  That they will resonate within the souls of a population in need of bravery and kindness.  I pray for expressions of love over hate, for happiness and gratitude, for Thanksgiving everyday.  I pray, inspired by the life of a friend who did not give up, who ignored tremendous pain, who persisted beyond expectation, a friend with an unparalleled lust for life, a kind heart, a creative mind, a beautiful soul and an extraordinary love for people, none more so than the beautiful wife he reluctantly left behind, confident in their eventual eternal reunion.

Dear God, I will ask no more questions of you.  I don’t want an explanation or a reason from you.  I ask only for the strength and discipline necessary to live my way into my own answers, to ignore doubt and uncertainty, to live bravely, to spread kindness and to exemplify the lessons gleamed from a life cut short on years but more complete and fulfilled than most lives twice as long.   Help me understand that everything does happen for a reason.  No life ends in vain.  Resolution and meaning, however, are not realized by request.  They reside in the culmination of life’s complete experience, in the balance of pain and happiness and the understanding that one does not exist without the other.  I am grateful to be with my family today, with a more complete appreciation of what that means.  I am grateful for the painful experience that opened my eyes to the good fortune and happiness that abounds around me.  Though I will miss my friend, Nate, I will continue to live humbled and inspired by his example.  I will be passionate.  I will side with love.  I will live and I will be, forever NateStrong!

Thanks again for listening.

Amen