For the people with whom I disagree passionately, whose passions strike me as harmful and off-kilter and wrong, who I see as hurting themselves, hurting society, hurting me…God, give me love. Remind me of all the horrible things I have said and done, both in Your name and outside of it. Remind me of my own muck. Remind me of how little I know and understand. Give me love.

For the people who make me feel small, who laugh at me, scoff at me, who don’t recognize my own dearly held notion that I am the center of the universe, give me love. Remind me of all the times I have made others small in an attempt to make myself large. And remind me, too, that the earth orbits around a big, firey sun…not me. God, give me love.

For the people who know how to make me angry, how to stoke my temper up into a quick, spitting flame…God, give me patience, give me breath, enough to draw it deep into my lungs and hold it there and remember that things I say count, the things I say in anger count. Give me love. 

For the people I pass by daily, crowded on sidewalks, seated in trains — for the mother balancing a baby on a hip and pushing a stroller with one hand, for the man crumpled up asleep in the park, for the students balancing piles of books and the woman ahead of me in line, God, give me love. Remind me that these are holy creatures with your fingerprints all over them. They are not annoyances. They are not inconsequential. 

Remind me that I am small. Remind me that I’m part of a whole. 

Take away my desire to compete. 

And my desire to slip easily into conversations by turning the subject to the flaws of other people.

And God, please, give me love.