Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Power of Prayer

When people meet me, they don't look at me and think, "That's one deeply religious woman." I guess my bold personality comes across as fitting a different stereotype. I am not a fall-down-on-your-knees-throw-your-hands-up-and-shout-it-out kind of prayer person, more a "Hey God, It's Me ... [Alicia]" kind of person. Some people may call this meditation. Others simple contemplation in moments of solitude. I call it prayer.

I generally do not ask for specific things. Mostly because of Mark Twain's The War Prayer...
If you would beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon your neighbor at the same time. If you pray for a blessing of rain on your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse on some neighbor's crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.
Instead, I often request the strength to get through a tough time or the courage to accept the outcomes I may encounter. I ask this for others also because as highlighted in Twain's poem, sometimes what we ask for is in complete contradiction to what another asks of God. Who am I to feel more deserving than another?

Recently I found myself in quite a predicament: the eve of an incredibly important presentation, I discovered my jump drive was missing. The jump drive with confidential client files and highly personal information was not where I left it. Initially I panicked, and had this happened about 2 or 3 years ago, I would have melted down... freaked my freak as a friend once said. I'm not sure if it was hitting my 30s and achieving a maturity closer to self-actualization, or perhaps, simply not being knee-deep in the school year's stresses, but within about 10 minutes I had calmed down. I quickly accepted that the jump drive would not be available for the presentation and went about finding another solution. Happily most of the documents I needed were, in some form or another, on my hard drive or other removable disks. I figured out how to proceed, and the meeting went very well.

But... I still did not have a hugely important item. My concern loomed over the information contained on the drive and how potentially harmful it could be in another's hands. When I realized there was no way I had left it outside of my own house, I chalked it up to God or the baby and figured, eventually, it would be found. Still there was this gnawing on my inside: where the hell did that thing go?

After much remembering, I narrowed it down to two locations in my house. Again, I self-soothed: when able, I would do a complete clean sweep of those areas. If it was still MIA, I could safely assume my naively helpful child attempted to clean out Mommy's purse and threw it away. I felt better knowing that some evil superpower was not in possession of my jump drive, using it to accomplish their dirty, dastardly deeds... but still, where the hell was it?

I prayed. Aloud and silently. I began daily prayers to St. Anthony, "St. Anthony, St. Anthony, please look around. Something is lost and cannot be found." I racked my brain, tried new places, and then prayed more.

Nay-sayers will claim I would have found it eventually, but what does it matter? I eventually stopped looking and focused only on my novena, if you would call it that, to St. Anthony. I hoped, if nothing else, for the memory of where I left it. As I was about to sort my laundry... shamefully, the 2nd time in only 10 days... a thought crossed my mind, "Wouldn't it be funny, if it was in my laundry basket?" I shook my head and rolled my eyes and got to sorting. Absurd. With about 2 items left to pull out, there it was: my jump drive. Sitting there as if this was its home. Waiting for me to discover it. Strewn in with my dirty clothing. It either fell off my bedside table and into the basket or was accidentally pulled along with the clothing during a bed sweep.

However it came to be, it was found. Thank you, St. Anthony. And thank you, good Lord in heaven, for keeping me calm and sane... mostly.

So, forgive me, readers, for being soap-boxy. But take a moment when you can for you. Call it prayer or meditation or deep thought or internal discussions with your multiple personalities or just a simple moment of silence. It doesn't matter the title, just do it. You may not realize the full import of this quick pause until you face an adversity so troublesome, you have no idea what to do that it really is easier to not do at all. You will find the strength to continue, whatever its source.

And hopefully, you've realized, it's about more than a jump drive.


  1. I started writing a comment, but I genuinely can't express my feelings right now. I've been so overwhelmed and upset about this infertility stuff that it's made me really pull away from church and G-d. I hope this is the kick in the butt I need to stop being angry.

  2. Sometimes it's ok to be angry and cry and not know who to be really angry at. Sometimes [I think] it's ok to just close your eyes and trust that the love others (including or not including God) have for you will carry you through this.

    I know I can't say anything to make you feel better but know that you are in my thoughts... Plus you are a pretty awesome tweep. :)

    Hoping you find the elusive peace in your life soon, no matter how momentary.


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