Skip to main content

"I am helpless"

"Let Them Be Helpless" by Mariana Tcherepanova-Smith
I was praying for Youngest Son today, asking his patron saints to pray for him as well, and saying to them, "I feel so helpless". I stopped and thought: "No. I AM helpless."

I am a card-carrying, pledge-swearing, grammar-correcting perfectionist. I am willing and able to tackle any and all problems, whether they concern me or not, because I KNOW I can take care of business. Get out of my way, watch my smoke, applaud my success.

Except...I am helpless.

I can't control stuff. I can't control my kids. I can support, cajole, discipline, advise. I can some degree. I can pray. I can tell, ask, model and listen. But I cannot control.

What a damn let-down for me. Because, I was sure, until just a few months ago when the ugliness of sin and evil in the world punched our family hard in the gut, that I could and would control.

I am helpless.

I have always thought this prayer from St. Ignatius of Loyola was the scariest prayer in the universe, because it acknowledges what I crave most: control. And yet, I am willing to pray this prayer; I am helpless.

Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will. All that I am and all that I possess You have given me: I surrender it
all to You to be disposed of according to Your will. Give me only Your love and Your grace; with these I will be rich enough, and will desire nothing more.


  1. Thanks for that. I have been a miserable failure as a father and grieve every day for the mistakes that I made. As a Catholic I know that I have been forgiven each time I leave the confessional but I have never yet found a way to forgive myself. I suspect that this prayer may help me at least find sone measure of peace.

  2. I hope you find some peace as well. We struggle together as the Church Militant...


Post a Comment

I love comments, even if you don't agree, but please don't leave anonymous posts. A well-mannered reader leaves a name!

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Trauma Mama

Dear Husband and I both enjoy certain medical shows, such as "ER" and "Code Black." ("St. Elsewhere" was another fave!) These shows revolve around trauma: humans who'd been ambushed by life: a car accident, a fire, and abuse, as examples.

More often than not, these shows also highlight the trauma the doctors and nurses needed to deal with. Having a patient die is always offensive to a doctor: they are charged with saving lives and losing one is the ultimate failure. Nurses spend more time with patients, and can forge strong bonds with people that may be in their lives for just a few days.

But trauma doesn't always look like a bloody body being wheeled into an emergency room, or a house surrounded by fire trucks and police cars. Trauma comes in many forms.

According to one website, trauma can look like surgery. It can look like moving. Trauma can be losing a beloved spouse or more horrifying, a child. Trauma can also be chronic pain, loneliness, m…

Be Brave

A few years ago, it came to my attention that a young family member was struggling with anxiety and depression. I was able to share with her a bit of my own struggles, and let her know she wasn't alone.

A few weeks after our talk, I saw the movie, "Brave." It struck me that the young protagonist, Merida, modeled a great quality. She was indeed brave.

Being brave is not about recklessness. It is not about confidence. It's not about being foolish, or looking for glory in the eyes of others.

Bravery is about doing what is right, even when you are a quivering mess. It's about knowing that things may not turn out the way you expected, but forging ahead anyway. Being brave is standing by the hospital bed while a loved one is dying, and all you really want to do is turn back time. Bravery is standing up to a bully, when your legs are screaming for you to run. Brave is doing what needs to be done even when you're scared and tired and feeling helpless and hopeless.

I …