|Cimetière du Père-Lachaise in Paris, by Melissa Mathieson|
It's been awhile since I've prayed. Why? The most honest answer I can come up with is that I just plain haven't felt like it. I'm still angry with my maker for allowing such a tragic end to my sister's life. Of all people ... She was a Jesus follower to the core! How can anyone even begin to make sense of something like that?
Almost every day I'm hearing stories of evil in the world — each one seemingly more horrible than the last — and there's an extra pang in my heart for the victims of these atrocities and their loved ones. But here's the thing ... in spite of the evil and madness, there continues to be love, laughter, and beauty in the world, and in my life. How it all can exist simultaneously is hard to get my head around, but darned if it does.
So, yes, I'm praying again, but my soliloquies have got to be sounding a bit different to their recipient. Instead of literally coming to Jesus in my "prayer spot" overlooking the ocean near my former home in the Pines by the Sea (hey, it was nice while it lasted!), I find myself coming to my maker in random moments during my day simply to say Thank You. I'm feeling compelled to do this more and more, in spite of the fact that a madman recently plowed down hundreds of people with his truck on Bastille Day evening in Nice, France, killing 85 of them. All of this while my daughter, studying abroad, was not far from the scene that very night enjoying fireworks by the Eiffel tower. While I must throw up my hands and say, "What the hell, God?" I must also thank him for protecting my girl, and providing her with opportunities to enjoy her life to the fullest in a wonderful foreign land. I just got a text from her ... she has a free day on her agenda and is shopping on the streets of Paris at this very moment. (:
Perhaps prayer is acknowledging the good and simply omitting the bad ... coming before God in sheer appreciation and gratitude, while thoroughly admitting I don't understand the roots of evil, madness, bigotry, selfishness, sickness, pain, natural disasters or why people I love have to die. Prayers for peace and comfort? I suppose, but if he has the power to grant these things, wouldn't he also have the power to stamp out evil, etc., altogether? I am clearly not going to figure this out at my computer on a Sunday morning.
Truth is, my God has plopped me right here in the middle of the Garden of Eden surrounded by love and light. Doesn't he deserve to be acknowledged and praised for this?
For now, the Thank You prayer is all I've got. Maybe it's all I need?