A prayer for unity in the spirit of Dr. Seuss | Greg Asimakoupoulos

Last Saturday would have been the 120th birthday of Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss.

Last Saturday would have been the 120th birthday of Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss. Born in 1904, Geisel passed away in 1991, having left his imagination and creative mark on our culture. Not even the Grinch can steal our fascination and affection for this literary legend.

Last week I dressed up in my “Cat in the Hat” costume and read books by the good doctor in area schools. That’s become my annual tradition this time of the year. It’s fun to see how Dr. Seuss fever fuels reading frenzy among elementary age students.

I typically read “Green Eggs and Ham” to an enthusiastic crowd of kids who often jump in and join me with “I will not eat them ANYWHERE!” This classic Seuss tale deals with forming negative opinions about certain foods before even trying them.

After reading the story in character with much flair and dramatic pauses, I can take off my hat and elaborate a bit on the bottom-line message. It has to do with ways we prejudge things and people without getting to know them. And then without actually putting anything on my gray balding head, I can put on my “preacher’s hat” and call the kids to get to know those in school they aren’t sure they’d like or those who are different than themselves. The fact is, once we “try” new things and get others a chance, we often end up liking them.

Another annual tradition that I observe this time of year is giving the invocation at the State Legislature. I look forward to this opportunity as much as I do my “Cat in the Hat” appearances. As I pondered what to include in my comments in Olympia, I reflected on the “Green Eggs” prejudice that often punctuates the rhetoric of red and blue states and the need for finding common causes on which politicians can agree.

The disturbing division on the political landscape prompted me to pen a prayer dealing with unity. Because my “day to pray” this year fell on the eve of Dr. Seuss birthday, I decided to craft my invocation in rhyme as an homage to Theodore Geisel. And so, this is what I prayed last Friday before our lawmakers.

Dear Lord, Creator God, Most High

I ask Your help as these will try

to do their best

to face the test

tho’ details may be dry.

Here in the shadow of Rainier,

where long-term fixes are unclear,

we take the time

with words that rhyme

to sense Your Presence here.

Please grant to these who seek to serve

all those who have been thrown a curve

the means to hear

what others fear

by finding inner nerve.

And may the cost of compromise

be paid by colleagues who are wise

to what it takes

to celebrate

solutions to life’s whys.

So at the start of this new day,

we pause with purpose as we pray

for unity

that all may see

the goals that guide our way. Amen.

Guest columnist Greg Asimakoupoulos is a former chaplain at Covenant Living at the Shores in Mercer Island.