Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Law Of Unintended Consequences

 I am sure you have heard of the Law of Untended Consequences. Today’s blog is an example drawn from personal experience.
When I was three years old, my father lost his job and his home because of the great depression. Subsequently I was sent to live with my grandparents, where I had to share a bed with my aunt Dorothy, who was seventeen.
Aunt Dorothy took it upon herself to teach me about praying. Although she died in 1967 at the age of 51, a simple prayer she taught me over 65 years ago still exerts a strong influence on me today, although not in the way she intended.
Of course, I had to learn the “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayer which I dutifully recited every night. One night I said to aunt Dorothy, “This ‘if I should die before I wake’ scares me. How can I be sure I won’t die before I wake?”
Aunt Dorothy said, “Ask God to be sure to let you wake up in the morning.” So I added that to my prayer.
Then I said, “What if the world ends tonight; then I’ll die?”
Aunt Dorothy said, “Ask God not to let the world end tonight.” Another addition to the prayer.
One thing Aunt Dorothy always stressed is that you’ve got to believe that what you are praying for will really happen. When I asked how you do that, she said, “Just keep telling yourself that it will happen the way you asked.”
To avoid having to keep telling myself that God will let me wake up in the morning, and he won’t let the world end tonight, I shortened it to “He will, it won’t.” I went around all the time thinking, “He will, it won’t, He will, it won’t.” After all, I knew what I meant, and I was sure God would too.
I soon got to the point where I accented what I was thinking by matching my actions to the cadence of my thinking. For example, if I touched something with my left hand while thinking “He will,” I then had to touch something with my right hand on the “It won’t” half of my system.
I eventually outgrew this continual “He will, it won’t” thinking, but I found that I didn’t outgrow the doing things in pairs. If I even glanced out the corner of my left eye and saw my shoulder, I had to glance out of my right eye and catch a glimpse of my other shoulder. If I blinked once, I immediately had to blink again. I am sure many people thought I had a nervous tic, and they were right.
Even today I catch myself doing it, and I have to believe other people sometimes wonder why I make such funny moves. I’m just trying to look out the other eye.
So you see why I believe in the power of prayer. It worked. I have always been able to wake up in the morning, at least so far. And the world hasn’t come to an end. Opps, I just touched my face with my right hand. Excuse me while I touch it again with my left.

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