Tuesday, 6 March 2012

An Orientation Upward

I am thinking about prayers. Not because I am particularly devout, but just because people keep bringing them up, sending them out, asking me for prayers.

It is hard to write about your own prayer habits without appearing sanctimonious. That is not my intent, OK? I live on a pilgrimage path. Prayer is part of the scene.  

I am not uncomfortable with praying. I grew up in a family that´s on first-name terms with the Almighty, and I still say "grace" before dinner a lot of the time. But as I have grown older, my definition of prayer has gotten a lot wider. It does not occupy a discrete portion of the day. I don´t keep a "sweet hour of prayer." It  happens, in and around the daily doings. It is not hard. It is utterly simple. It is a habit.

I walked out alone this morning to catch up to Patrick and the dogs. I prayed my mindless rosary-type morning prayers, Scriptures worn smooth by years of use, they fit sweetly into the rhythm of a human stride. I walked through town, and thought about the people who live in the houses. I imagined them all out in the plaza in August, playing cards and laughing under the trees. It made me smile. It blessed me. It blessed the town, too, I think.

(Pilgrims pray, and we see many pilgrims passing, more every day. Faraway friends call me up when they´re suffering. They don´t ask for my prayers. They ask me to have a pilgrim pray for them, out there while they walk. No pilgrim, even a total stranger, has ever refused to carry their prayers when I asked. I think this is wonderful.)

Out among the fields and I prayed for rain. The fields are like talcum powder, drought-stricken. They ought to be very green by now, but they are far from it. It is worrying. "Please make it rain," is all I said. "If my lettuces and onions can´t be as nice as Edu´s, at least let them not die overnight."
the "salad patch," spinach planted in November!

Today I prayed for Bob the Canary, too. He is a silent puff of feathers, obviously not feeling well, and heaven only knows what might be wrong with him. He is too young for his battery to expire. I hope it is only Spring Fever, that he will soon again deafen us with his jazz stylings. I love that little guy. "Please let Bob get better," I said. "Fix whatever´s wrong."

When Patrick is out of sorts I tell God to fix him, but I don´t tell Patrick I´m doing it. And when I am out of sorts I grumble at God to fix that, too. I suppose that is a dark kind of prayer. 

Perhaps praying is a healthy inner dialog, a way of ordering the voices in my head.  Maybe it is a coping mechanism in a life that still feels isolated, unstable, and lonesome, even though I chose it myself.  Maybe it´s my inner child, keeping to what she was brought up on, slipping into the comfortable old shoe called "Our Father Who Art in Heaven." Often I am sure it´s a selfish plea for a magic solution to whatever is not going my way. 

It is good for me. I like it. It may even be helpful. It certainly cannot hurt.

Yes, I believe I am heard. And I don´t often forget to say "thank you."

That´s the fun part. 


strangerthanfiction said...

Thanks for this post! It really resonated for me.

FrereRabit said...

Yep,that's prayer. We all have our ways of going about it. At the beginning of Lent I decided to dust my Volume II of the Roman Breviary, sort out the marker ribbons and say the full Morning and Evening Prayer of the Office during Lent.

I suffered crushing boredom at the end of the first day's attempt and the dust is gathering on it again. Maybe sitting quietly with the donkeys and hoping Rubi has not got mange is prayer enough?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your prayers...I pray pretty much the same way...some Hail Mary's and Our Fathers...but mostly dialog...and, as you write, gratitude is the important part...

Amen, hallelujah, k

Br. Francis said...

Prayer is God's invitation to dedicate our time and being to a fuller appreciation of the divine so that our vision broadens and our hearts expand through Love.

Rock on!

(...And pray for me!)

Bro. Francis

Anonymous said...

I've never had much with organized religion. When I was eight I just knew that religion as it was taught was not what it was about. I could be wrong though. At any rate I talk to God on a regular basis and I suppose you could call that prayer. I like to think that God has a sense of humor so I often thank him/her for the funny things that happen in my life. Gratitude is the best attitude! Thank you for sharing!

claire said...

I love this post. Thank you.