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Month: September 2014

Pray Tell: The Hocus Pocus of Happy Thoughts

Heads up: This may offend you because I’m hurting and I haven’t the composure for caution or the patience for sensitivity just now.

I’ve never understood prayer. Don’t know the point of it, how it’s accomplished, or what the word means exactly. I’m atheist, so it’s probably not important that I understand prayer; it’s rarely aimed at me or asked of me. And yet — it’s all around me.

For the past six months, a young man I adore hung in the ruthlessly unfair, utterly unexpected balance between life and death. He struggled. He suffered. He should have been driving to off-campus lunches and asking a date to homecoming, but instead he was tubed and tested, monitored and medicated. And trapped. He was trapped.

And so there was prayer — daily, concerted, multi-faith prayer on this boy’s behalf. Prayer from friends, family, kindhearted strangers, and entire congregations who’ve never met the kid. Enough prayer to stop a white rhinoceros in its tracks.

Yet the bastard rhino kept charging, so tell me: What good is your prayer? Did it mean he could send the crash cart home for the night? Or get his breathing tube removed? Did it mean this kind, smart, funny, strong boy could bound free from the Critical Care Unit and go on about his otherwise promising life?