I spent a good deal of time yesterday thinking about prayer.
It was my first Sunday back at Mass in too long. As a converting Catholic, Mass is not the thing to miss. But the family was so warmly received. Father said, “Welcome home.” A dear friend said she knew she would see us soon.
It was the 10th anniversary of 9-11. This churns up a whole bunch of thoughts on hate, love, trespass, forgiveness, religion, prayer – at least to does for me.
It has been no secret that my journey with God and all that encompasses has been an interesting one. We have found ourselves in many different places. However, I have found comfort in the fact that most of the figures in biblical history have some things in common – they experienced fear, doubt, love, dishonor, courage – either all at once or at multiple times. I am not so different.
Even when my doubts are at their pinnacle, one thing that is always staring me in my face is prayer. All my life, I can remember times when I prayed.
- Spending the night under a flipped couch with my newborn sister during a hurricane
- Starting my new kindergarten (after a move which I hated)
- Watching my parents give my baby sister mouth to mouth
- The first time I missed curfew
- The day I enlisted in the Navy
- Joey died
- The night Momma made that phone call
- The day I found out I was in labor – 12 weeks early
- When I sent her to kindergarten
- The night of her emergency surgery
- Every single day of my deployment during OEF/OIF
- My miscarriage
- My discharge from active service
- That other time
- Right now as I write this
There are a ton of wonderfully happy times when I pray. And I enjoy the feeling of gratitude. But when I am fearful or scared, prayer is amazingly powerful. Not quite sure what I would do without it. Even now, conversations with The Blessed Mother is one of my favorite things.
I have heard prayer described as a crutch. I am ok with that. I would never fault someone with a broken leg for using a crutch – they need it. I need it. I am not flawed in my weakness. I am human.
I have heard God described as a fictious creation designed for our own need of comfort. I have also heard Him described as the Creator and Lover of all. I prefer the latter and as it takes equal amounts of faith to believe either, I will believe what I prefer.
I have heard religion described as a violent manipulation designed by those seeking power to control the masses. I have also seen religion deliver aid to the needy, food to the hungry, clothes to the naked, medicine to the sick, and comfort to the broken. Misuse of a thing is not the fault of the thing. Knowing that someone has had their head bashed in with a bat does not make the seventh inning stretch any less beautiful.
I don’t have all the answers, neither can I control the opposition or defense. But, that is the beautiful thing about freedom…I can ask my questions, I can search for my answers and I can pray.