On New Year’s Eve in 2000, while going through a sad and difficult period in my life, I remember sitting at the kitchen table of two close friends who were very tied up in what was going on with me. We talked about many of our dreams for the coming year and spent time reflecting upon the year that had just passed. It contained some of the most extreme highs and lows I’d known to that point, almost all of them unexpected. At the time, I could not have known that happiness beyond my imagining was right around the corner, in the form of getting together with the man who would become – and still is – the great love of my life. But at that table, that evening, I was overwhelmed with sadness and grief, the kind that seems to come from the bones themselves. It had been building in me for a couple of years, and even though I occupied myself with musical projects and lovely friends, the ache was a constant undertone. I had never before been a depressive person, so the enduring gloom was a surprise. One of my friends at the table asked if I had any New Year’s resolutions. Through my tears, suddenly at that moment rose a feeling of passion and purification, of hope, and I found myself saying aloud the words of my oldest prayer, “Let me be thy instrument.” For some reason, I never dwelt much upon specific prayer requests for people or events – though this works very well for many people and religious traditions, it always rang false in my own ears. But this particular prayer always felt like a song inside me.Maybe it was because my maternal grandmother’s favorite hymn was the Prayer of St. Francis – “Let there be peace on Earth; and let it begin with me.” The text to this hymn pretty much sums up all that I try to be and do in this life. When these words tore out of me that night, I cried for a long time, and for the first time in ages the tears didn’t feel like poison. A light, and a lightness, had returned, and it indeed proved a turning point. I found myself praying this short, 5-word prayer over and over during sleepless nights, until I reconnected to the joy which had been my more usual companion and expression. After several years now of living with an undercurrent of joy, for I am so very blessed in so many ways, I find my prayers have gone more toward the specific rather than this one, pure wish….Since so much is good, the struggles of family and friends, the little worries of everyday life, take on greater shape and importance than they used to do when everything was hurting. My husband went through a scary couple of months with eye problems (he’s fine now, thank goodness), a friend is battling fiercely against cancer, my stepsons are beginning their lives away from home, my parents and brothers are dealing with their own issues, I’m wondering what next year will bring career-wise when my contract in the orchestra ends…. And yet, as big as these things all seem at the time, I am starting to realize that my original prayer covers them all. I have always been cared for one way or another – all that seems to be required of me is to be open, trusting, and willing. And grateful, always and eternally grateful. Hanging on the door in my Reiki room are the words on the picture at the beginning of this blog, which to me puts it perfectly.