Sometimes when it rains, it pours. I’m not referring to torrential thunderstorms with spastic lightening. Just rain. And lately? Its been figuratively pouring. The most awesome thing about life is that anything can happen, the most frustrating and anxiety-inducing thing about life is that anything can happen. I write lists, and cross them off. I organize my calendar. I clean my kitchen each evening before bed. All to give a sense of order and control over my day. But sometimes you get handed so many unknowns that the forest and the trees begin to meld together and you feel like you’re staring into a hologram with a mounting anxiety that there’s no image beneath the surface.
It’s a silly story but true. In fifth grade walking to school I thought about prayer and faith and felt slightly doubtful. God, I prayed as I walked, if you exist, for real-you will make my teacher absent for a whole week. I felt fairly confident this would not happen as my teacher reminded us at every opportunity about her perfect attendance record, how she had only taken two days off in ten years. I went to class, sat at my desk, and then, my teacher cleared her throat and told us she was taking the next week off. She told us why but I don’t remember the reasons, I just remember sitting at my desk, my mouth parted in shock as everyone high fived and grinned at one another. A miracle, I thought. God, you really answered my prayer. Yes, it sounds silly, but for so many years that moment buoyed me when the waters were rocky, did my prayer cause it? Did I get inspired to pray for a thing that would happen anyways? I didn’t know but the fact that it happened before my eyes gave me certainty in a being greater than us, and of prayers, that they are answered. I loved the feeling of inner peace and certainty I had- someone was listening, someone was answering, a big warm hug from above.
As the years passed, as I see things go wrong for people, terribly wrong, so wrong there are no words to express, you feel hollow and wonder about the power of prayer- because surely these devout people prayed, prayed with everything in their hearts- for a thing- that did not happen. And while I do not doubt the veracity of my fifth grade memory, when I cup my hands to pray, to ask for help to ease my uncertainty, I feel a wall stands before me. I try- and I am unable to. What gives me the right? When babies lose mothers and mothers lose babies despite prayers and pleas, should I ask for anything with the hope to receive? I see my cupped hands and feel like a spoiled child asking for more when their belly is quite full enough.
I miss whispering my worries in prayers. Without prayer I hold my worries alone and they simply pile upon one another until I feel I might stumble beneath their weight. And worries do not make the future any more certain- it just takes away ever so much from the present before us. How do you cope with periods of vast uncertainty? How do you pray for things when you are not sure that you have any right to be heard, when you see others with more pressing causes whose requests from this mere, human’s perception, seem to go unanswered? Apologies for vagueness, all is well in every way that counts, just trying to grasp a concept that is anything but solid to master.