New Year’s Prayer: Trusting the Great Mystery

May I learn to relax, come to trust, & be guided by the Great Mystery.










As I reflect on the beginning of another calendar year, I am tempted to make a laundry list of everything I need to do to become whole.  But this year, something’s different.  Making another  New Year’s Resolution list doesn’t interest me.  It seems vain, controlling and too lifeless.

Instead, I hear the whisper of nature through the wisdom of this tree invite me to let go, to relax, to stop trying to figure everything out.

This New Year I am being called to be amazed at the Great Mystery that guides and enfolds all of creation.

And trust that if I listen to the Great Mystery speaking silently within and around me, I will truly be free.


  1. These thoughts remind me of a recent hike in Seidman Park my family and I made the day before the just-past Christmas. Nature at it’s most splendid! Everywhere a thick layer of snow covered the ground and foliage. Occasional open skies let the sun in, highlighting the marvel we felt before the park’s beauty. Trees and bushes were lined with ice under a second inch-thick layer of the purest white snow. There was relaxed conversation. But more, our meander through the woods was an experience of simply being with each other and being at one with the nearly indescribable splendor of pristine nature. These are among the best gifts of life!

    As I ponder your question, Brian, I wonder: Could it be that this “letting go” in order to “listen to the Great Mystery” is the essence of the larger call to conversion, the invitation to wholeness?

    When I reflect on my life as a young adult, and even my middle-aged years I recognize myself hard-wired for mastery and control. Achievement with its parallel recognition and status helped me establish a sense of identity. Those emphases were necessary. But, with life’s inevitable disruptions and losses I have come to realize that keeping myself “safe” and in control fails to satisfy a deeper yearning within me. Coming to terms with these developments, while not always welcome, has served to loosen my attachments. Looking back, I see gift in these losses: the noticing of a thirst for something more. I am discovering that what was significant earlier for my survival and thriving has become insufficient for now.

    As I listen for the voice of the Great Mystery I own my longing and discover that this Mystery, while always beyond my understanding or grasp, does indeed come to me in nature and in the arts, too; trusting, open relationships that connect me with others and the communication that I experience within such exchange are another powerful voice of the Mystery; and most surprisingly to me, I pay more and more attention to my inner experience, my intuitions and imagination, for discovery of this Great Mystery.

    The gift of this longing is the willingness to live with wonder, to exist with contradictions and unanswered questions, to trust that this Great Mystery holds me like no other can. My prayer for the new year is that I may experience such trust more pervasively and deeply. It’s a prayer for freedom to let go and listen!

    • Larry,

      I appreciate your thoughts and reflections. Good stuff! The letting go seems to be the hard part for me. I seek too often and too diligently to understand life and all of its ups and downs when perhaps the invitation is to let go as you say. So, my question is, How do you “let go?” What does that mean and how does one live from that freedom?

      • It’s certainly a work in progress for me. But as I think of what I’m processing lately, it’s letting go of lifelong feelings of personal shame and inadequacy. Owch – it’s difficult to put that down on the screen. Although others remind me of achievements and affirmations that should negate such an oppressive attachment – academic, professional, religious leadership, and even personal – underneath a sense of essential defectiveness has remained. The feeling has haunted me more and less at various times in my life.

        At this point I am recognizing some of how I learned to feel and believe such a negative sense of self. And, I am actively and more intentionally praying for the grace to let it go and in its place to embrace my goodness as the beloved of God. This is a “letting go” that I can see requires my active participation: allowing myself to be more vulnerable relationally; noticing and reflecting on the goodness in others and how it gifts me and the broader community; and embracing those (Divine) impulses of for goodness and justice that I feel and act on as expression of one called to union with the Holy Other.

        Other, earlier detachments have felt more like investments ripped away from me. For the most part, they were not given up thoughtfully or willingly. These have included personal dreams, career changes, relational losses, open heart surgery, associated recognition of my mortality, and even the physical and mental changes associated with aging. I have fought with and resisted each of these. And, it’s only in looking back (after the passing of some time) that I have been able to see those graces that have enabled me to let go.

        I wonder how this invitation to “let go” has transformed and/or currently challenges others?


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