Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I Should Have Been More Specific

Big Questions: March 15, 2009: Do We Get What We Pray For?

There is this fabulous section of one of Margaret Cho’s stand-up routines in which she talks about how, growing up, she always wished to be surrounded by gorgeous men. Turns out, all the gorgeous men in her life are gay.

We have something in common.

I’ve never been super-comfortable with the idea of prayer. For the most part, at least how I’ve seen it realized in my own life and in some select few people around me, it tends to go towards the selfish side of things. Like having Santa on speed-dial, you can just call up Jesus (or whomever you believe in) whenever you feel like it and say, hey, it’d be cool if you could give me this.

Now, I know a lot of people, if they pray, and if that prayer asks for something, it’s going to land on the side of strength and hope and please help. In a lot of ways it seems like an act of desperation- of just needing someone to be there when it feels like you’re entirely alone, with no one to lean on. I get it. I tend to call out to friends in those times, or just sit in my own depressing silence and try to deal solo.

Maybe I’ve been spending too much time with Red recently, but I can’t help but think that, at some point, we need to learn to stand on our own two feet. I know that he’s a fairly closed-off person when it comes to emotions, or he at least tries to be, but at the end of the day, there’s an extent to which he’s right.

I’ve been relying on a few key people recently, and there aren’t words to describe how thankful I am that I have them in my life. But at the same time, now that things are starting to turn around, I know that I’m going to stop being so emotionally overwhelmed, and as a result won’t be sharing as much with them. At some point, I think you have to let go of that safety net and just act on your own. This is probably a big reason of why so much of religion doesn’t work for me- because I’m honestly not comfortable giving up control.

I don’t know if we get what we pray for. I don’t tend to subscribe to ideas like The Secret, or any of the new age philosophies that suggest that just putting an idea out into the universe will bring it to you. I’m much more into concrete actions- if I desire End C, then I just need to do A and B and I’ll be there. Easy. Done.

Maybe prayer is just the step we sometimes need to get us going so that we actually work for what we want, and work towards our own happiness. Does prayer directly lead to getting what you’re praying for? Not at all. Does it help you to vocalize and then put into practice what it might take for you to go out and get it yourself? Maybe.

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