My Prayer upon Opening the Internet

Hole-y Socks!

Dear Lord, I am about to enter the world-wide internet, where good people can use fake names and say awful things. As I click on the icon, I ask for your blessings.

Let me not be taken in by any trolls. Erase my fantasies of hiring a computer geek to hack into their email and send thousands of messages about losing weight by eating only raspberries and holding a sanctified piece of granite. Bless me to recognize the trolls and to refrain from feeding them.

Let me recognize that insults come from feelings of betrayal or need, and let me respond with kindness. Or give me the strength to not respond at all. Teach me to modify comebacks as follows:

“You are clearly an idiot” = “We may not be understanding each other well.”
“You have no idea what you’re talking about” = “Interesting ideas.”
“Do you realize who I am?” = “Thank you for your attempt to explain this.”
“You are giving this issue undeserved attention” = “I appreciate your passion.”
“I don’t care” = “Though this is not on my front burner, it matters to me because it matters to so many.”

When I fall into the trap of mean exchanges, extricate me with reminders of charity. Help me to be long suffering rather than wishing long suffering on anyone else. Help me answer rudeness with kind thoughts, not wishes for particularized tornadoes on a particular house. Help me be patient, and not to announce to the world that I know what I’m talking about better than “they” do. (We’ll keep that our secret.)

Help me to take attacks with a good spirit, and let me remember that if I absorb someone’s vent, they may spare a dog they might have killed. And let the owners of that dog be inspired to contribute generously to my film.

Remind me that the internet is not real life, that there are faces behind avatars. Let me never permanently disregard anyone who has spoken rudely, but teach me compassion that I might mourn with them in their hour of need.

If it be thy will, Bless me with a little more income devoted to taking anyone who considers me their enemy out to lunch, that we might transcend anger through chicken coconut kurma.

Help me remember to offer a prayer for good will before I even click on the icon that opens me to the temptations of communication ex machina.

As always,
Margaret (flawed though she be)

About Margaret Blair Young

Margaret Blair Young teaches literature and creative writing at Brigham Young University. For the past fifteen years, she has specialized in the history of blacks in the west, particularly black Mormons. She has written six novels and two short story collections, but has lately become interested in filmmaking. Her current endeavor is a film to be shot in Zambia called Heart of Africa (www.heartofafricafilm.com)

  • David_Naas

    I am, unashamedly, going to steal this.

    • Margaret Blair Young

      I intend it to be stolen :)

  • rockyrd

    Amazing Margaret. You do it again!

  • Jeffrey Needle

    As always, Margaret, you hit it on the head. I would have chosen matzoh ball soup over whatever it is you want to eat, but what the heck…

    • Margaret Blair Young

      <3 Jeff

  • Julia Taylor

    Copied and pasted into the My Mantras for Bad Days folder. Thank you!


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