As previously mentioned, I am a practicing Christian.
But prayer working is not about me asking to a have the Leaver struck down by thunderbolt. I do think that within this spectacular do-do storm that has struck our family there have been countless miracles both miniscule and enormous. However, I’m not going to be so immodest that I can metaphysically message the almighty for instant service: “okay, God, the heavy-duty smiting thing is a tad to Torah for my tastes but I’d settle for a week of curdled milk in her coffee.”
No it’s the requesting part of praying, I’m talking about. It’s the act of praying itself, that has helped immeasurably. And in that regard one could be praying to Vishnu, Christ or the Maytag repairman.
However, I do mean prayer and not just meditative practice, or contemplation. Meditation is enormously therapeutic. But the act of prayer has had a different sort of effect – healthful, yes, but also morally orienting.
When you pray, you have to accept a higher power, as the Alcoholics Anonymous folks put it in the 12 steps. That is intrinsically humbling, and intrinsically difficult. Because you are communicating with a greater authority and perhaps even an embodiment of whatever you consider to be perfection, judgement is inevitable; either directly or simply by comparison and contrast. Self-judgement yes, but ultimately a higher judgement. It can be distressing, off-putting, even frightening. But in a state of combat where certainty it almost necessary for survival, a bit of doubt is a necessary counterweight that lifts you out of the mire.
Of course the whole process of demolishing a relationship generates heaps of judgement as a byproduct (hazardous waste?) It’s not just the act of leaving, there’s the process of leaving, the stuff that’s left behind, the reaction to the leaving, the growing awareness of the leaving on friends and family – every act in this process oozes judgement by all involved and all who happen to perceive it too.
Then, there you are in some corner of your house — maybe looking at an icon, or book, or talisman or just a space — and what was a second ago, just a wall in your just ordinary house is now a portal to the ineffable and super-powerful and you are laying your soul to judgement.
Of course you’re going to think about the Leaver. And if you think about someone while praying, you’re praying for them. I’m guessing the thought of the Leaver may arouse imagery specific to your faith tradition that you find comforting at this time. In my case, stonings, Catherine Wheels, lions and arenas….
And that’s just it, there’s a bit of a battle over what arises from the subconscious but, personally, I just can’t stand there and pray that the person that I recently lay naked with and entrusted my life to be smitten (as in being plagued by locusts, not as in falling in love with the mailman).
So you kind of have to think of something…. well… nice.
You can’t but help go into the wise self — even if you feel dragged kicking and screaming sometimes — the place where you get the long view, and some humility, and kindness, and love.
You did love that person, you know. There’s no getting away from that. And I’m of the thought that once you love a person you do for the rest of their life regardless of the shit.
Prayer has made a huge difference, honest. I can be roiling with fury a few minutes before. And honestly, I can still be mightily pissed after too. But for a few seconds in prayer I`m remembering that this is the same person that I worried about for almost two decades of my life. That I played silly buggers with my worries where I occasionally imagined the worse possible outcome just so that it wouldn`t be the case. I prayed for her for years, after all. If I really believe it when I say that she is the best mother in the world for our children, how can I stop praying for her, now?
I don`t just want her to be well. I need her to be well. I still need her to be well.
If in the middle of a shit storm I can be lifted out of it by few words murmured quietly in the dark, counterbalancing the great sucking mire of bitterness and resentment and anger, I can’t think of a more obvious miracle.