Religion is a topic that typically causes me to tread lightly. Well, as lightly as I tread anywhere, I guess. It is such a hot topic and despite how often I may be caught “stirring pots” on various subjects, this has always been one I’m not looking to get burned on! I have a few thoughts that may seem somewhat “deep” in comparison to my usual posts, but by the end I think you’ll concur that I STILL don’t have a serious bone in my body.
I was raised to believe in God. Not only that, but I was lucky enough to be raised by parents who although molding me to be a follower of one particular denomination would have allowed me to explore others. I didn’t necessarily ever have the desire, but I also wouldn’t have had fear to ask questions if I had.
Growing up, Church to me was more about the feelings I experienced as a result of attending than any deep thoughts about the religious lessons I tended to tune in and out of. Church was strong, memory-etching smells. Incense and a live Christmas tree every year. Flowers at Easter. It was the awe I felt each time chords echoed from the organ and caused our modest church to vibrate. The beautiful music that made everything seem to come alive.
Church was the cause of my Dad rocking a suit and tie every Easter. It was a sip of wine at communion, a feeling of relief when service was over, excitement for the annual pig roast and pride that my Dad came every year to cook the pig. Oddly, it’s also a memory of a bizarre and disturbing “foot-washing ceremony” that creeped me out!
I’ve seen people grow stronger as a result of their faith…… both the type that is consistent and conditioned and Faith that is newly found. My own Dad morphed from Grace Church’s twice a year Easter guest star and Master pig roaster to a man who is allowing faith to gently guide him through the Senior years. (quick sidebar: Mom and Dad, I’m teasing about the Senior years! And also turning the ringer off on my phone for awhile!)
Times of trouble cause many of us to reach out within our inner circles and ask for prayers. Often times prayers exceed our own inner circles and extend into others. Friends of friends, church prayer circles, a heartfelt FB post asking for blind and unconditional prayers for a stranger.
When hearing of tragedy, loss, or grief, how many of us almost automatically tell others an equivalent of “you’re in my prayers”? Many of us do. The question THEN would be, do we DO it? Do we follow through? Do we pray each and every time we tell someone we will? I can honestly say that I try to. I almost always do. Just a quick: “Dear God, I am praying for so and so. May you help all involved find peace in your will.” Good, huh? I’m such a schmoozer!
Just today when I read on WBEE’s facebook page that Randy Travis was not recovering from his latest illness and may never perform again, I dropped everything and prayed. Looking back, I probably should have set the glass down first, but my point remains the same! “Dear God, I pray that you cure Randy Travis and allow him to live Forever and Ever, Amen”. Honestly, I’ve always loved Randy’s music- my prayers are sincere and ‘Deeper Than The Holler’!
I’ve never really “talked” to God. I say those quick prayers for others in need, and once a year or so I’ll have a blubbering, crying melt-down over SOMETHING that hindsight will undoubtedly prove ridiculous, and I sob while begging God to “help me”. It’s almost always so assinine that I’d be willing to bet the prayer doesn’t help at all. God’s more than likely up there convinced I’m having a seizure so any love he’s willing to extend to me at that time is probably in the form of ensuring I don’t choke on my own saliva.
Life is full of ups and downs and I’ve had my fair share of both. I’ve been a bit “down” lately and feeling lost. While I know my problems are miniscule in comparison to what so many others are going through, the fact remains that they have been FEELING big, to me. Bigger than they usually do. Heavy, and over-whelming and making me feel as though I’ve lost all direction in my life. If only I could find a road somewhere……. since “all roads lead to Marketplace Mall”.
Last night, while sitting in my driveway, I delivered the 6lb 8oz brainchild that I should pray. Right there. Loud, proud, and unplugged! Here’s how well THAT worked for me, nearly word for word:
“ummmmm. Heyyyyyy…. God? Ummmmm, I’m not exactly sure how this works, and I don’t even know if you can hear me! Hell, I don’t even know if you’re real or what you look like! Talk about having some blind faith! Crap, I just said ‘Hell’ while talking to God. Crap, I just said ‘Crap’ while talking to God! And I keep saying it!!!!!!! Ugh. God, I’m really feeling like we’re off to a bad start here.
Let me try again, K?
Dude. I need some guidance or direction here. Shit, I just called God ‘Dude’. Shit, I just said ‘shit’. Ugh. I am SUCH a jack-wagon!! I’m sorry man, I’m just a mess and don’t really know what to say. Shit, I just called God ‘Man’. From this point forward, everything that comes out of my mouth is meant with respect, Mmmmmm Kay, Kyle? GREAT. Now I called you Kyle from South Park. I reallllllly hope you don’t even know what I’m talking about! This is not going well.
Listen, I get that people have WAY bigger problems than me and I hope you help them all too. I don’t even know if praying WORKS, but I see lots of people on TV who say that it does. People say you even help them win lotteries and shit! Shit. I had no intentions of praying for something material, but now that I’m saying it out loud, winning the lottery really WOULD be pretty helpful. I don’t even need to win a shit-ton of money, just enough to get ahead. Crap, I said shit-ton.
I’m mostly trying to be funny, but I don’t even know if you ARE funny! Or if you LIKE funny. I kinda hope you DO and that you’re up there in your Birkenstocks laughing your ass off rather than e-mailing my name to Satan from your new iGod! Don’t even deny it. I know Steve Jobs is up there. He’ll make anything into an “i”. Ugh. I can’t STOP. It’s tourettes, I swear. Undiagnosed of course, but so far I enjoy the symptoms so I’m holding off on labeling myself. Hmmmmmm. If I have tourettes, and we’re all children of God, than technically it’s your fault that I am the way I am?? And to think that all these years I’ve wondered if Jane ate paint chips while she was pregnant with me! Innnteresting.
Okay, I’m going to focus now. Huh. My garage door isn’t closed all the way? I wonder if the girls took their bikes out while I was gone? You’re probably laughing because you already know whether they did or not! Oooooh. That’s kinda scary. Can you see everything I do? When I pray in my head do you hear me? Ugh. Can you hear ANYTHING in my head? All jokes, I swear! I’d never do ANY of that stuff.
I’m just in a “funk”. I don’t know what your Godly capabilities actually are, but if you could try to guide me in the right direction, that’d be awesome. If that is out of your control, could you ask Steve Jobs if he could speak to Siri for me? I bet she could help.
Well, I gotta go in and beat my kids for going in the garage and get them to bed. KIDDING!!! I don’t beat my kids! Much! Duh. Who am I kidding, you SEE me! You know I don’t! Can’t fool God! ;)
I’m not sure how to wrap this up? “See ya soon” isn’t feeling quite right and no offense, but I really hope I don’t. “I love you” feels pretty formal, even though I think I do? Huh. I guess I’ll keep it simple and just say Adios Muchachos! Crap, I just called you Muchachos! I think I better just say Amen now. Amen!”
So friends, there you have it. My first prayer was random and silly and drenched with unintentional potty language, YET I felt such a RELIEF! It was the oddest feeling to just be venting to a higher power! God probably thinks I’m the world’s biggest screw-ball, but I believe in his unconditional love.
I think anyone who thinks about praying should. No one needs to be afraid that they may not say the right thing, and I don’t think there is ever a “wrong thing” to say. It’s the gesture. The attempt. A connection made. God would probably prefer our swear words over our silence. At least that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself!
A few minutes after praying last night, a coincidence occurred that I’m sure was exactly that. Coincidence! It was however, exactly what I needed to know I should pray again another time. And another time after that. If nothing else, I’m bound to make the Big Guy laugh eventually. Ugh, I just called God ‘the Big Guy’. I suspect he may love me anyway though. He better, he gave me tourettes!