My Kind of Prayer


When I was a kid, I prayed all the time.  I prayed to St. Anthony, and St. Christopher, and St. Cecilia, who I chose as my saint, because I liked her name.  I prayed the “Our Father” on rosary beads in catechism school and sipped apple juice that was subbed in for communion wine.

I’m not interested in homilies or dreidels anymore.  But when I’m wondering if I’ll ever take a kid to kindergarten, or I’m worried about whether or not I’ll turn into a woman I can be proud of, I try to tap into a different kind of faith.  And it’s like this.

It’s believing, when you’re on-the-floor heartbroken, that someone better is out there for you.  It’s believing that you will do great things with your life, even if you’re going through a hard time.

Life can be hard.  Horrible things happen in the world.

Recently, a blood clot erupted in the brain of a woman I used to work with, leaving her unable to speak for the rest of her life.  A few years ago, a man raped a friend of mine, giving her with this wound that will never fully heal.

When I was nine or so, a drunk driver hit and killed a teenage girl a few blocks away from my elementary school.  In remembrance of her, our teachers took us out of class, led us to the field and handed each of us – every student in the school – a balloon.  On their command, we released hundreds of balloons into the blue sky.  For years, I’d pass that light on the corner where she died, a busy street hemmed in by groves of eucalyptus trees, and I’d see flowers laid down for her.  I don’t see very many flowers anymore.

But even though I know this, I also know that light is pouring onto the Puget Sound.  I know that men are unloading tuna into coolers full of ice.  Flowers are opening their petals to the sun.  Parents are picking out baby names.  Winds are whipping around mountaintops in Nepal.

You have to choose to carry beauty with you.  You have to choose to see each day as an opportunity, and remind yourself as often as possible, that there is not an unlimited supply of days for you, though it does feel that way.

You have to ask, “What is my life for?”  Like in the way that Buddha, Jesus and Georgia O’Keefe knew what their lives were for, you have to think, “What is my life for?”

This is my prayer today.  And the truth is, I do think there is something.  I just don’t know exactly what that something is.

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