Since the shutdown, I have read any number of statuses, tweets, comments, and memes about the shutdown. All with a negative tone. Some blame the system, some blame the congressmen, and some blame the opposite party. None are productive, none are inspiring, and none are eliciting a change in what's going on.
Recently I've pondered on what I can do to make a difference. I'm just an 18 year old girl after all. A first year student at Brigham Young University thousands of miles from a home I love, a home that is hurting. I'm not a political activist. I don't claim to know what the best solution for our country is, and I would never desire to be the person who has to make that call. However, there are some things that I do know and that I've come to realize even more as I've reflected on our circumstance:
First is that I am proud to be an American. I commented that I felt my home in Virginia was hurting, but in reality, this country is my home and we as an American family are going through a hard time. I don't always love the things we as a country do or agree with the course we take, but I am proud to be here. I am grateful for this land and the freedoms it offers me. I am grateful for the precepts our great nation was founded on, and though I have long since accepted that we are not perfect, I will never stop believing that we can grow together.
Second, I have the knowledge that there is a God who knows and loves each of us individually. I also believe that He knows us as a country, and most significantly, I believe that He hears our prayers and answers my (and your) prayers.
Thus, I concluded that the best thing I can do for my country is pray to my Father and ask for His loving hand to guide and intervene. I am but one individual on this earth, but I have faith that even my most quiet prayers count for good when I am sincere. It's such a simple act, but I owe it to this country that has given me so much, to not complain, but to do my part, however small, so that's what I've been doing.
Today I felt a great call to action to do more for my country. I felt it as I read the status of a friend from Virginia, about her concerns as her father has been out of work for over a week. Her concerns about how her family will make ends meet when all he can find are minimum wage jobs. I felt the same call as I read through each of the comments posted by her friends and acquaintances in similar situations. These individuals who themselves or whose loved ones have served their country through government employment and are now left in a lurch, their lives are on hold, and they are fighting to stay afloat.
As I read their comments my heart hurt for them. We are all part of the American Family and this is only a fraction of the members of my family and your family that are hurting.
I've realized there is more that can be done, but I can't do it alone.
The reality is, the answer hasn't really changed in my eyes. The most helpful thing that I can find for myself to do is pray. Pray when I awake, pray at each meal, pray in quiet moments, and pray before I go to bed at night. Pray for this country. To pray not for a political party or for things to work out the way that I want them to, but to pray to our Father in Heaven that things will change, that we can work together and really say "United We Stand," the way claim to live. We can pray that our elected leaders will be able to work together, that their hearts will be softened to compromise, that they might be able to come to a solution that will benefit our country, and we can humbly trust that God will lead us to where we need to go.
So now I am doing my part by asking. First I pray and ask God for help, and now I ask each of you "Will you pray with me?" It doesn't matter to me what your belief system is. I endorse our right to freedom of religion and encourage each to worship God as they choose. Thus, I invite all of you, whether you be Muslim, Jewish, Baptist, Protestant, Agnostic, Mormon, Lutheran, Catholic, Presbyterian, Sikh, Christian, or anything else, to knee down and pray to your God. Pray to him even if your don't know that He is listening (though I can promise you He is). Ask Him to help His children. Ask Him to help our American Family. Ask Him to guide us in the right way, and don't tell Him what way that is. Just ask Him and take a chance in believing that He will answer.
How powerful would it be if all of us, regardless of faith, were to join together in prayer?
We are all different. We have different skin colors. We have different hair colors. We have different incomes. We have different educations. We have different backgrounds. We have different trials. We have different hardships. We are all different, but we can choose to be as one. We can be one family. We live together. We work together. We play together. We learn together. We stand together. Now let us pray together. For together we are stronger than we could ever be on our own.
United We Stand. United We Pray.