Thou knowest better than I myself
that I am growing older and will someday be old.
Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking
I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.

Release me from craving to
straighten out everybody's affairs.

Make me thoughtful but not moody;
helpful but not bossy.

With my vast store of wisdom,
it seems a pity not to use it all;
but Thou knowest, Lord,
that I want a few friends at the end.
Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details;
give me wings to get to the point.

Seal my lips on my aches and pains;
they are increasing, and love of rehearsing them
is becoming sweeter as the years go by.

I dare not ask for improved memory,
but for a growing humility and a lessening cock-sureness
when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others.
Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet, for a sour old person
is one of the crowning works of the devil.
Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places
and talents in unexpected people;
and give, O Lord, the grace to tell them so.
St. Teresa of Avila

listen to the MP3 recording of "Lord, Thou knowest better ...":

Lord, it's so easy to give in.
To let the clouds gather
dark and threatening,
whipped up by the winds of my own fear.
Mists of my own making
blotting out the light and warmth of your presence.
So easy, in mouth-dry anxiety,
to feel alone.
Abandoned. Unprotected.

To roll in nettlebeds of self-pity,
the pain spreading as vision contracts,
until my horizon is described
by the jangled nerve endings of my despair.

Estranged. Alien.
Each accustomed act, new,
unknown, frightening.

And yet, Lord, you are near.
I hold on to your promise
„For I am with you, always.“
Always. Unconditional.
Words echoing
through the deep caverns of my doubt,
sometimes distant, sometimes near.
I reach out
feeling in the dark for reassurance.
And we meet. Touch.
Your hand held out too. First.
I hold on, warming my cold, fearful fingers
in the glow of your presence.
I hear your voice,
speaking my language.
Words I understand.
And I realise
there are no stange lands to you.
Your presence everywhere.
Your presence, home.
Thank you.

Eddie Askew
 No Strange Land