Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue


Dear God: On Praying, However Imperfectly

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God,
In Luke’s gospel Jesus tells his disciples this parable: A widow begs a crooked judge for a just sentence against her adversary. After lots of badgering and nagging, the judge says, “Dang, Lady, I’m tired of you. I’ll send your guy to jail if you leave me alone.” The judge is afraid that if he doesn’t do what’s right for her, she might open a can of TMNT (teenage mutant ninga turtles) on him and get her just sentence anyway. Which is, according to Jesus, a good lesson for us to take down in our spiritual notebooks: “Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.” (Luke 18:6-8).
Okay, here’s my problem with that passage, God: all the suffering I see on earth. I know for a fact that many tormented souls have and do cry out to you on a fairly regular basis. If cries of help to you were like cups of coffee at Starbucks, they would have surely earned a free cappuccino on their frequent buyers card. But they are still depressed, ill, crippled, in chronic pain. They nag you, they harass you, they call you on their cell phones in the middle of the night when you are trying to put your children to sleep to tell you about their symptoms. In the morning, they still have them.


I know that you’re not supposed to be a kind of magician in the sky. Because then life would be like a Disney movie: not real and irritatingly happy. But some fairy dust would be welcome on occasion, don’t you think? Iraq? Katrina? Bosnia? The psych units at Johns Hopkins and Laurel Regional Hospital?
You know that I’m persistent. You know that sometimes I approach prayer like I did unloading Thin Mints when I was a Girl Scout:
“Dad, will you buy some?”
“Sure, Honey, just let me read the paper first.”
“Well, can you at least look at the brochure and just tell me what kind you want?”
“Give me the damn brochure.”
“Which kinds, Dad?”
“Thin Mints.”
“How many?”
“Do I have to decide right now?”
“Just pick a number and you can change it later.”
“Five.”
“That’ll be $15.95.”
“Okay. I’ll pay you later.”
“Where’s your wallet? I’ll get it for you.”
“Downstairs on my bed table.”
“Thanks, Dad. Nice doing business with you.”
My father—a very savvy business man–told me to go into sales for the same reason Jesus advised his disciples to follow the example of the pestering widow: persistence is the key to getting what you want.
But I hate sales (unless I’m selling my book to an editor). Because I know better. Just because you nag the crap out of a healthcare insurance representative on the phone, and spend 60 hours of paperwork presenting your case–that they did, in fact, say they were going to pay for your hospital stay when you described to the triage nurse in the ER that not only were you suicidal, you couldn’t think about anything other than how, exactly, you were going to kill yourself—doesn’t mean that you get out of paying $8000 to the devil. Because those evil guys are using the same sales tactic—peck, peck, peck. They send out the same exact bill every three weeks until, exhausted by all the back and forth, you pay the damn thing. You just want to move forward into happier times and not think about those days of bonding with the psychotic chicks in paper-thin hospital robes watching “Dirty Dancing” in the community room.
Persistence is key, yes. But I can’t expect to get anything from you, God, because I don’t want to be disappointed when I don’t get it. For that reason, I prefer Thomas Merton’s way of praying:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself . . .
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. . . .

Merton combines persistence with people-pleasing, which, of course, I’ve always excelled at being a true codependent. I want to please everyone, but especially you, God. Doesn’t everyone raised by nuns? Let’s be honest. I’d really like to skip over the cozy fire of hell, if at all possible, the place where you said there would be darkness, weeping, and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8: 11-12). Because it sounds an awful lot like some of the playgroups that David and I attended … before we were voted off the island.
But let’s say I’ve got persistence and people-pleasing down. You and I still have some major interference hindering our communication because my mind is a bit like Times Square on New Year’s Eve—loud and distracting with those party blowers blasting you in the face wherever you turn. I have a real problem with concentration. It’s gotten much worse with each kid. I couldn’t even compete on a “Special Jeopardy” for those with ADHD.
As you know, here’s how our dialogs sound: “I’m sorry … what was I talking about?” “Which decade am I on?” “Who was I just praying for?” “Is this the last Our Father of my novena?”
Fortunately for me, my patron saint, St. Therese, was also plagued by a short-attention span, intrusive thoughts, and an … um … tendency to fall asleep during prayer. And like me, she worried her conversations with you were one-sided. That is, the warm fuzzies didn’t come visit her as she lit a candle and flapped her holy jaws. You know I’m not making this up. ”Saying the rosary takes it out of me more than any hair-shirt would,” she wrote. ”I do say it so badly! Try as I will to put force on myself, I can’t meditate on the mysteries of the rosary; I just can’t fix my mind on them.” ?
I love what my friend Babs wrote about her struggle with prayer:

When I try to pray, I feel like my mind is the equivalent of an unearthed ant colony rushing in a million directions at once. Quieting my head seems almost impossible. But I do remember hearing that even trying to pray, is in itself, a prayer. Even as I feel myself fleeing the presence of God, a cry for help is flying in my wake—and I do believe that God, who knows all my shortcomings and failures, accepts my miserable attempts with kindness and mercy.

Mother Teresa articulated the same idea, that perhaps you love us in our trying, not necessarily in our success or mastery:

O God, since you are Jesus who suffers, deign to be for me also a Jesus who is patient, indulgent with my faults, who looks only at my intentions, which are to love you and to serve you in the person of each of these children of yours who suffer. Lord, increase my faith. Bless my efforts and my work, now and forever.

So, God, help me to be persistent like that annoying and badgering widow of Luke’s gospel, to be people-pleasing like your disciple Thomas Merton, and to be, like Babs and Mother Teresa, cognizant that I am loved by you for my intentions and efforts more than for my results. Remind me that love is made whole in my imperfections, because as St. Augustine once said, “True, whole prayer is nothing but love.”



  • Nancy

    Therese – I have nothing eloquent or even somewhat intelligent to write at this moment, except to say “thank you” for these posts today. The fact that you could even bring a smile to my face, one that has been covered in tears for hours, is a miracle. My temporary interuption from the pain and the tears is welcomed and maybe provide a glimmer of hope from what I feel right now is so hopeless.
    “I couldn’t even compete on a “Special Jeopardy” for those with ADHD.” made me smile. Go figure. I know I have a sick sense of humor in order to enjoy that line. It’s because I get it and see myself not even knowing when and how to push the button right at this moment, let alone have an answer.
    My body and brain are all over the place today, and I am so weary from this whole thing. Today – well for now, I just don’t want to do this any longer. This is not the first time I have felt these feelings, and maybe it won’t be the last. I just needed to write this down, and thank you for all of your favorite prayers, words of humor and wisdom, along with including Babs and Mother Theresa’s thoughts.
    You’re a continued blessing always.

  • Lynn

    In some crazy way , could the answer to the prayers for happiness and wholeness be the trials and pain we suffer everyday? If we do not know pain and what it is ,how can we know joy? perhaps the beauty lies in being able to feel anything at all?? :)

  • Wisdum

    Beatifully brilliant post today Therese !
    I must be a simpleton, because the same answer keeps coming back to me over and over “The world is a stage, and we are ALL but actors playing a part” (Billy Shake)… To me this is all a movie play or video, written by God, produced by God, directed by God, acted by God and is sitting in the theater, with you hoping you like it ! (I think God is hoping to get all the awards for Himself !…you go Pops !)
    My wife said to me “Well I don’t like the part I’m playing !” and my response was “Who would you rather be … Atilla the Hun, Adolph Hitler, Charles Manson, the Oaklahoma Bombers, a Terrorist like Osama Bin Laden ?” … “You’re a teacher for God’s sake ! You get to play with third graders all day, and shape the minds of the future of this world ! How much better a part do you want ?” (yeah right, I’m a real bastard that Way !)… (Oh yeah ! You get to play any dam part you want to play in this story, His-Story of Love and Passion…and Freewill)… (Be careful wehat you ask for or pray for, you just might get it !)
    LUV 2 ALL
    Wisdum

  • Larry Parker

    I’m in a VERY bad place today, so take the following comment for what you will:
    (But it’s not inconsistent, because it’s another version of the question I asked in the August thread on “Prayer and Depression” Therese looped back to today.)
    Everything in Therese’s posts (not just today, but in general), and certainly everything in the combox posts following, is predicated on one simple yet immensely profound statement: that G-d loves us.
    But how do we **know** G-d loves us? The answer is, we don’t. And, until death, we never will. We have FAITH G-d loves us, but that’s a much different thing.
    I suppose it’s theoretically true that we can never be sure that anyone loves us — we can only have faith in them as well. But we can see and feel and touch those who say they love us (and those we say we love can see and feel and touch us), which gives us a basis for trust in that love.
    Maybe the whole point is that some would say they can see and feel and touch the divine presence, so they at least know their faith is well-placed. Others, like Blessed Mother Teresa — who by the testimony of her own writings lost that divine contact — just assume that G-d loves us. (Although we all know what the folk wisdom is about assuming anything here on earth …)
    I do know on earth, at least, trying to people-please to love someone who doesn’t love you (a situation I’ve been in …) is the ultimate in dysfunction. A bit like that nagging widow — who remember, wore down not a good judge, but an evil one, by Jesus’ own preaching.
    Not a comforting thought.

  • Cindy

    Therese,
    Another great post!
    Here is the story of the only way I know how to keep believing and praying… I had an idealistic childhood. Small town, doting family, and tons of love. Basically, it was like growing up in “Pleasantville”. I was very active (a cheerleader), and healthy! Then, one morning when I was 12, I woke up not feeling too good. By the end of the week, I was in ICU with a paralysis that had caused my lungs to collapse. I woke up with a tube down my throat and unable to move anything below my neck. I had been popular among my schoolmates. I had started taking dance lesson, which was (and still is) my life’s passion. However, it took almost a year for me to be able to walk on my own again, and I won’t go into detail about the other residual effects that were left. I learned early about fair-weather friends. As sad as all this sounds, throughout the entire experience I never thought about how close I had come to death until I was older. When I began to look around at all the things I wanted to do that, I couldn’t do anymore and couldn’t understand why that had to happen to me. The revelation came when I was around 17 years old and met a new friend at church camp. It was another idealistic setting in the mountains of North Carolina. One of the older gentlemen that was teaching there became like a grandfather to several of us. Anyway, one day he told me about a lesson he had learned the hard way. Sometimes when something happens and we don’t understand how or why these things happen, it may not be us for which God has a message. I like to believe that God used me to send a message. I had to go through that experience so that someone around me learned something that would save someone else’s life or change someone in some way. God had to use me to touch someone. My prayers have since been simply to ask God to help me see his path for me. My depression has challenged my faith, so I have to believe you are right too when you say that just trying to pray, is a prayer. It’s a very comforting thought in the midst of a chaotic mind.
    Thanks, again!
    Cindy

  • Miss. Bridget

    I like that article about praying incorrectly. I might be stating the title wrong but you know what I mean. There are times in life that you want to pray the word but human thoughts get so tied up in the verse one was suppose to say that more human thoughts comes forth oppose to the word so as a result one feels as if she cannot concentrate because of all the things that took part in the day or the week or the month or the year sometimes even several years back. When one pray one should be up front don’t hold back what is bugging one self once one is communicating with the creator. Once one is real then one can get help but when one powder puff it with big words which GOD is not asking for then sometimes prayers are often over looked. Because one is not real. GOD knows when one is real and when one is just pretending that one is so holy that one does not have a care in the world when all the time the bills are due the rent is due people is buggins on the job in where ever one involve herself in. People get on nerves one did not know existed. One is ignoring people one is covering up with masks one is on cloud nine which never existed. In other words one is where fake til she can go home and cry because she got through the day but did not truly show any feelings yet the feelings are still there the feelings did not go away so since other people cannot help try being honest with GOD HE will help when one is honest. Keeping feelings inside can eat one self up alive so release the feelings to GOD just make sure no one heres one when one releases the feelings. Usually the Patty wagon stays put when one only releases the feelings to GOD and not one’s next door neighbors on the entire block.

  • Babs

    How do we know that God loves us?
    Among many other verses, after praying for His apostles and disciples, Jesus prays this: John 17:20 – “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me…and that you loved them even as you loved me…I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”
    As well, “For God so loved the world that that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” John 3:16.
    And this, Romans 8:26-30: Brothers and sisters:
    The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness;
    for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
    but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.
    And the one who searches hearts
    knows what is the intention of the Spirit,
    because he intercedes for the holy ones
    according to God’s will.
    It is humbling to remember that Jesus, on the night before He died prayed for us, the ones who did not see, but believe. He prays that we will share His oneness with the Father. And that when our prayers are scattered and barely coherent the Holy Spirit prays for us in ways we can’t. (This is one of my favorite verses.)
    We forget so easily that our God, who cares for the sparrow and the flowers of the field, loves and prays for us. I don’t always feel the love of God, but feelings are deceptive.
    Do we wrestle with God’s love for us, or with trust, because so many have betrayed us?

  • Larry Parker

    The answer to your last question is unquestionably “yes.” (And the betrayals are continuing now even as I write this — but that’s another story.)
    That said, yes, Blessed Mother Teresa was able to persist in her faith, despite no longer feeling the divine presence for the majority of her life, because she did at one point — and strongly enough to undertake a mission for life in Calcutta.
    I’ve never felt the divine presence that way. So my question is WAY beyond John 3:16. Besides, that’s a statement of faith, not a statement of knowledge — as any Bible verse would be, necessarily.
    (Yes, you know I’m a lapsed Catholic from my posts, but I wasn’t asking for a response to my question in a “Christian” way, which I thought was clear. Guess not.)

  • Jim G

    I struggled with this too, we all do I’m sure. Someone had mentioned to me she thought everything happened for a reason. I wasn’t sure. What about starving Ethiopians and children with terminal illnesses? What about all people who are suffering?
    It is said that breakthroughs are the flip side of breakdowns. I have seen some evidence in that. I had a mental breakdown, but now I feel better than ever, for one, 8 years later. No matter where you believe in reincarnation or Heaven, it seems likely that God is perfect. And that since God is perfect, Ethiopians who have starved to death are going to get a second chance. With another lifetime without suffering, or with a go directly to Heaven “monopoly” card. Same with children with terminal illnesses. Same with Christopher Reeves and his wife. (I thought it was odd that Reeves’ wife died shortly after he died. It is an indication to me that they will get a second chance, and together.)
    Perhaps it is incomprehensible for us to know why one person heals and another doesn’t. It probably isn’t always as clear cut as one has labeled themselves ill and another has not (although it would seem in some cases this is true, which was a previous “pot” post of yours. Or incomprehensible why there is suffering. But if we believe in a perfect God, there must be a reason.
    Holding such a belief would at least bring us the sort of peace that I think Reeves’ had towards the end of his life. In his case there was the additional breakthrough of promoting stem cell research, which might very well end up being a medical breakthrough for others.
    The Buddhists seem to have a handle on suffering. But it’s too late so I won’t Wikipedia it. I can’t handle any caffeine, but made the mistake yesterday of drinking a big old cup o’ joe, which made for some insomnia, so my brain is too sapped to think about or research on the Net any other stuff on suffering as well.

  • Larry Parker

    Ah, yes, an answer for everything.
    Buddhism, I’ve found from experience on these boards, for all its reputation as a “let everything go” faith, is also extremely judgmental in some ways. As, granted, all religions are.
    The idea that Christopher Reeve was all sweetness and light after his terrible accident (which happened in a town where I once worked, BTW) is a sick joke. By his own testimony, for all the care his fortune could pay for, the love of his wife and the hope he had in trying to promote research, he went through terrible moments of doubt and agony (and torturous pain 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year). I even recall him saying he thought seriously of suicide, except he literally did not have the physical capacity to carry it out. That’s hardly “perfection” to me. To say nothing of famine, war, genocide, pestilence, natural disasters and all the world’s other nightmares.
    And yet again, you blame at least some people (i.e., me) for their own ills due to “stinkin’ thinkin'” (which depression, of course, causes) and say they deserve whatever punishments they get as a result. Which — aside from its insane (word choice intentional) lack of empathy for people with whom who represent to share an illness — if you really believe that, means there is either no G-d, a distant G-d or a malevolent G-d — not a benevolent one.

  • meredith

    i, too, am suffering from severe depression (for the past twenty years to be exact.) however, unlike Babs (and Mother Theresa for that matter) there has never been any moment in my life that i did not feel GOD”s LOVE… i do, however, agree that feelings can be truely very deceptive ~ this i found out the hard way quite a few times when some of HIS creatures whom i have very deep feelings for (thinking they have the same feelings for me) betrayed theTRUST and unconditional LOVE i have for them!!!!! the irony of it all, it was even during these times, that i felt HIS intense love for me ~ the truth of the matter is, i won’t even be here writing this comment if it were not for HIS LOVE for me!!! as far as my understanding goes, unfortunate things happen because of our own doings as He has always given us the freedom of CHOICE ~ unfortunately, for some of us, more than a handful of our HIS creation (most often than not…) make the wrong CHOICE!!!!! consequently, they instill extremely hurtful feelings to those who almost always happen to be the closest to their hearts…..
    instead of not feeling HIS infinite LOVE for us ~ the more we should turn to HIM when some (or most) of HIS creation turns out to be one big disappointment after another… for whoever believes and trust in HIM will forever be SAVED and have ETERNAL LIFE.

  • Margaret Balyeat

    One od my favorite Bible passages, even though I can’t quote chapter and verse off the top of my head deals with a supplicant praying to God: PI believe! Help me in my unbelief!” So often I feel exactly that way! I’ve found that what works best for me is informal rather than formal prayer; talking to God as if He was sitting next to me at my dining room table and not trying to “word” my prayers to fi=t some formulaic model. Since I believe that I AM a beiever, it follows that I am certain that He hears my heart rather than my words Syill, there are (MANY) moments when I need “help in my unbelief) I especially enjoyed Rhomas merten’s comment, T, so THANK YOU once again for delivering EXACTLY what I needed to hear(read) today!(Yes it’s one of those “Help me in my unbelief” days!(weeks? months?years?) I’m afraid that I tend to be one of those supplicants who takes my burdens to his throne but have difficulty LEAVING them there (Doesn’t He “help those who help themselves”? That’s probably one of my biggest failings as a Christian, leaving him to do his work without snatching back my worries before I leave His presence. Maybe that indicates a lack of trust in Him, but I don’t think so. I perceive it to be more of a need I have within myself to be i”in control” of things; an all-too-common need of mant AC.O>As (Adult Children of Alcoholics.) I am DETERMINED, however, not to give up on prayer altogether, even though my “wish list” remains largely unfullfilled. I found your comparison of God to a “Santa Claus in the sky” both amusing and telling, Therese. I’m afraid thar’s exactly how many of us falliable humans approach our prayer lives, expecting His answers to be exqactly what we visualized and then requested; forgetting that in His omnipotence He knows what is best for each of us in the long run and it might NOT be what we’ve asked for.(“No” is an answer, even if ir’s not the one we want!) Hindsight, s i’ve said here before, is 20/20. and there have been mny times in my life when I’ve looked back to see that what I asked for WASN’T what was nest in the big picture. My difficulty comes from not understanding HOW certain things work together for my good (my hemiplegia, for example) and then I find myself questioning whether it’s that I’m truly NOT one of “those who love the Lord” in spite of my efforts and desire to be! I REalLY look forward ot the day when I’ll be allowed to see clearly rather than ‘through a glass darkly” and be able to understand those things which are unfathomable for me in the present! (At least, I THINK I do, but perhaps that kind of vision is denied us here on earth because it would be too painful) Sort of like our minds closing down and not acknowledging certain events to ourselves because our psyches can’t handle it…disassociation, I believe it’s called in psychiatric parlance. Yet again, since we’re promised there will be no tears in Heaven, that doesn’t make a lot of sense either: How will I be able to see things clearly which will be painful when I’m promised no pain or sorrow? Another of the “Great Mysteries?” All I know for sure is that I don’t like feeling like an imposter, so if I’m honestly NOT really a real Christian, iu’d like to know that now rather than in the distanr future, especially since hypocrisy is one of my pet peeves (probably number one on the list. I do know that people in my life see me as a true believer based on my behavior I hope not! , but maybe I’m just a D— good actress? In case you can’t tell, the dog has me in her jaws tonight and I can feel myself sliding down the slippery side of the abyss where my snakes all wait for me, meatly coiled and ready to strike. Sometimes serious soul serching seems to send me there; a “reason” (maybe even a good one) to avoid serious contemplation for a space of time. The problem with that is knowing how long a break I should take and risking becoming “shallow, which I DON’T want to be!

  • Frank

    From talking with my sister-in-law, my youngest brother prayed to God, a lot, about healing him (my brother, not God) from his bipolar disorder. I guess God was counting on me to fix what was broke and I didn’t get the message until it was too late. I can’t understand the miscommunication and it hurts to this day. When I see a glorious day and find such beauty that I’m almost overwhelmed, I remember Marty – and don’t quite grab the gold ring. I think, if he’d seen this he wouldn’t have found it hopeless.
    So, now, here I am dealing with a low grade fever, quite sure that it’s the Fellow upstairs reminding me that I’m gonna burn on a spit. Instead of enjoying the foliage I just see red.
    But my heart’s desire is to remember Marty in happy times and believe completely that I’ll see him again, healthy and happy. I’m convinced that is not too much for which to ask. So, God, in as clear a way as I know how, I’m praying that You’ll get on the stick. I don’t want to stop believing.
    Frank,

  • Babs

    Larry,
    I hesitated using John 3:16 because it is so often quoted that it almost seems to have lost its power. A shame, though. Obviously I don’t have the answer to the misery we experience as human beings (no duh!), but unlike some people, I don’t believe that “bad” things happen for a reason. We are quite capable of creating some pretty awful situations, without attributing their cause to a God who is trying to teach us something. That being said, with God’s help we can learn from the crummy stuff that comes our way.
    We cry out to God, repeatedly, but do we really expect an answer? Are we crying so much that we deafen ourselves to a reply? Does focusing on global suffering and injustice serve to erect a barrier between ourselves and God because by erecting it, we somehow insulate ourselves from the disappointment we expect? Asking for answers to global suffering first, serves to hold God at a safe distance. I have a lot more questions than answers, but when it comes right down to it, if I am honest, I am most concerned about myself. Can I trust God? Whenever I face a difficult time, it is a question I ask myself again. It is a leap of faith to say “yes,” I will take that step and trust You will be there. Even when I think He will be there, I still hesitate. God, help my unbelief!
    The power of sacred scripture is that it has the power to speak to us across the millenia. Sadly, I think we Catholics (lapsed and otherwise) seldom develop a knowledge of it. It is like having a love letter that we leave in the envelope.

  • Wisdum

    Re -Babs | October 23, 2007 9:10 AM
    I hesitated using John 3:16 because it is so often quoted that it almost seems to have lost its power.
    ** What most peole leave out of that (especially ministers)is “Only begotten Son” the key Word there is “begotten”. Begotten means -caused to have Life” … We are ALL sons and daughters of God, and Yeshuah in no more or less than that ! The difference is, we were ALL born with freewill, and He wasn’t. He was born with a specific cause, and that was to set an example and standard for us ALL, and that is Uncompromising, Unconditional Love ! Don’t feel bad about yourself, just because you couldn’t reach the gold ring on the “merry-go-round” It’s God’s fault (and sense of humor!) that some of us have short arms (or it that short alms ?)
    “bad” things happen for a reason.
    ** Sure do … it’s called manifest freewill !
    We cry out to God, repeatedly, but do we really expect an answer?
    ** I sure do … and I get it too !
    Can I trust God?
    ** Oh yeah .. but you have to take into account God’s sense of humor (which nobody thinks is one dam bit funny … but God ! … and me too !)
    The power of sacred scripture is that it has the power to speak to us across the millenia.
    ** I don’t know how sacred this is “I will put scales over their eyes and they shall not see the Truth, until the proper Time” … Unfortunately that Time is different for us ALL. I didn’t have a clue untill 20 years ago (now 66 … better late than never !)
    It is like having a love letter that we leave in the envelope.
    ** That is an incredibly pro-found statement ! I think you are seeing the Truth, the Light, and the Way (and don’t look back !)
    LUV 2 U /LUV 2 ALL
    Wisdum

  • Larry Parker

    Yeah, Mark 9:24 isn’t working so well for me right now …
    Babs:
    Isn’t it the height of selfishness (I speak not of you, or anyone individually, but conceptually) to ask for things for yourself from G-d when there is so much suffering in the world? I was taught in second or third grade CCD class never to pray for a specific outcome — one reason why I was infuriated when the devoutly religious quarterback Kurt Warner prayed for his badly injured elbow to recover (and, as if G-d was mocking the rest of us, it did, at least enough for him to play). It’s not that I wish Kurt Warner ill — but what in G-d’s name (literally) is more important about football than Darfur or AIDS or Mother Teresa’s poor in Calcutta or war or pestilence or natural disaster or famine or what have you?
    PS — I hope you’re not saying depression, a biochemical reaction in the brain (often caused by genetics unwittingly inherited from our ancestors) is our FAULT. Yes, we still have the responsibility to deal with it (as any of us do with bad situations in life). But sometimes, as in a Darfuri woman leaving her refugee camp for supplies for her family and risking rape by the Janjaweed, the choices are not “good” and “bad,” but “bad” and “worse.”

  • Wisdum

    Re Larry & Babs
    Yeah, Mark 9:24 isn’t working so well for me right now …
    God, help my unbelief!
    ** Been there, done that!…It alWays comes down to perspective (and perspective is everything !) God said to me “Well gee ! I was only having a little fun with you!” … and when I said, like David “I am a worthless pile of dung!” .. God said to me “Listen, I created you. And I don’t take kindly to your critisizing My work !”
    LUV 2 U’s / LUV 2 ALL
    Wisdum

  • Lynn

    I find it funny ( odd, not haha ) I blame my depression on my genetics as I blame genetics for most of my Dis-ease. I have made alot of bad choices that have brought me here, to the place I am today. I chose to marry a schiczophrenic, we went through a huge amount of turmoil, leading to some choices that I made that ended in our living seperatly, and also ended in me realizing that I realy truly love this person, like a forever kind of love. we may never live together again, never the less the love remains. while seperated I found myself in a relationship with another person going through similar problems, we found solice in each other for a while ( not a great love but a friendship and some caring), this lasted about three years. His ex wife used drugs as a youth, IV drugs. They were together 20 years , during this 20 years she was sober, she also became ill, in time they seperated. One fine day he was informed that she was HIV positive. She was very ill by then and finally found out this was why. Well you can surmise the rest. I found myself with no one to blame?, no one knew? , who can I be angry with? No one but myself, I did not protect myself.Ramdom, random, random. So the proverbial ball started rolling downhill, getting bigger and bigger. Lots of family angry at me , at him , my father disappointed in me, afraid, my son not speaking to me ( we were always at odds anyway) Me depressed, quit school, drinking too much , taking ativan. Me in the hospital( the psych unit) . I found God , The one that lives in me, my eyes opened, great place by the way ,very helpful , wonderful caring staff . I finally got it, I was on my way to enlightenment. Struggle struggle struggle, stress stress stress, Life life life.4 years later, son not angry with me any more (I live with him) Great kid couldn’t ask for a better son, I have two great, beautiful, busy, spoiled grandchildren and a lovely daughter- in -law. My daughter struggeling with her chemical imbalances and two young children (I raised my daughters, daughter for two years through all this.) She has stepped up and is working to make her life better. The other son always great, mostly happy and adjusted, I wonder what his secret is . Father is Father, it is better there, we lost my mother a few months before all this started. He has a partner , they are traveling and seem quite happy. I sit here and think boy I have a hard head, it took all of this S**t for me to find some happiness. I had to work hard for it, no one gave it to me. When those happy moments come I appreciate them, I don’t take them for granted, I worked too hard for them. I have just started taking Meds for my viruis, horrible awful , they make me sick, sick ,sick drugs. I am taking them before I really have to because I need a new hip (Genetics again, damn those genes). the doctor will not do surgery until my virus friend is more controlled. Lots of depression, sickness from the cure. Meanwhile more enlightenment ( Beyond Blue) Thank you, thank you, thank you. My point in all of this is GOD wanted me to find happiness and it took going through all of this S#*T so I could learn to see it when it came. Damn I am Tired! But very grateful for all of the S*#T, I have learned, I am able to see it when it comes and enjoy it too. I am sure there will be more S*#T, S*#T, S*#T and more enlightenment. There is a saying” Before enligntenment, chop wood , carry water. After enlightenment chop wood, carry water.” The longer I live the more I understand this. God thinks I am special, he put all this on me because he wants me to know, he didn’t quit when I wasn’t listening, he turned up the volume, kept at it until I started to understand.He is still doing it. It is a wonderful teacher who won’t quit until I learn my lessons. I love to learn, but I hate school!!!!!! :)

  • Cully

    It is like having a love letter that we leave in the envelope.
    Posted by: Babs | October 23, 2007 9:10 AM
    wow… that is beautiful! deeply moving and filled with love… a love letter.

  • Cully

    Therese wrote: Remind me that love is made whole in my imperfections, because as St. Augustine once said, “True, whole prayer is nothing but love.”
    amen to that… there is no such thing as imperfect prayer. Only a control freak will tell you you’re doing it wrong, and God is no control freak.

  • Wisdum

    Re -Cully | October 23, 2007 3:20 PM
    there is no such thing as imperfect prayer. Only a control freak will tell you you’re doing it wrong, and God is no control freak.
    ** You got that right Cully ! … But there is “stupid prayers”
    , I know I’ve said them ! Prayers like…
    “Father, I don’t want to be rich, I just want to get by ” … and God said ” No problem, my son. We can take care of that right aWay !” (you ain’t never gonna hear any rich people saying prayers like that !)
    How many of you have said “The Prayer of Jabez” … Great prayer, “Father increase my territory, that I may do good and not cause pain” …here’s the downside (there’s alWays a down side !)God increased my territory a hundredfold ! … And now I gotta figure a Way to pay for it all !
    “Be careful what you ask for or pray for, you just might get it !”
    LUV 2 ALL
    Wisdum

  • Babs

    Larry,
    My child has had dinner and wants a second helping. Is it wrong for him to ask for more because a child in Sudan has nothing?
    Praying for my needs does not mean that the woman who cries out in Darfur will not be answered because God is otherwise occupied with me. Jesus told us to pray, to ask, to knock. Let God be God and decide the answer. Just because I pray for myself does not mean that I do not pray for others.
    A good friend of mine who is a Catholic theologian told me a long time ago to pray specifically. How else will we know if our prayer is answered? Indeed, sometimes the answer is “no.” Paul experienced it when he prayed three times for the removal of the thorn in the flesh and heard, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2Cor 12:7-10), but it wasn’t a capricious “no.” God didn’t say, tough it out because it is good for you, or suck it up and get over it. God was saying that His power is made manifest when we realize we have no other recourse than Him. The benefit isn’t God’s, but ours.

  • Wisdum

    Re- Babs | October 23, 2007 5:25 PM
    Paul experienced it when he prayed three times for the removal of the thorn in the flesh and heard, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2Cor 12:7-10)
    ** Sorry Babs, but you just entered an arena, that I care very deeply about. Paul was a Roman … a corrupt Roman, who made his living selling slaves and Ju’s to battle and die in the Coliseum in Rome. But his greatest achievement , was arresting this fledgling religion called Christianity from the Ju(dah)’s, probably along with Pontius Pilate. It didn’t take them too long to see the potential gold mine there, and spirited it off to Rome, along with a whole lot of Romantic influence (if you catch my drift) It was an brilliant economic move. Let’s see, we could invest fortunes in armies, weapons of Mass destruction, abuse, torture, and crucify a lot of people (it is Way more practical to make them slaves, but we do need to strike terror in their hearts) … or … We could latch on to this Messiah figure, and have everybody throw all their wealth at us, to keep from going to Hell, brilliant !. (talk about a Protection Racket ! … Didn’t the Mafia originate in Rome, hmmmm) and what the hell kind of Love is Rome-antic love ?
    By the Way, all of Paul’s writings have a disclaimer in them … “Do this, do that, don’t do this or that … although I haven’t reached that level yet !” He was talking about himself and he was doing all of the don’ts and not many of the do’s. He was of the school “Do as I say, not as I do !” His best piece of work was 1 Corinthians 13 . He was talking about himself and all of his inadequacies (the up side, he gave a perfect description of God as Love) There is no record of him having a relationship with any females in the Bible (if you catch my drift !) ergo the separation of the sexes and authority. Paul’s writings constitute about 85% of the New Testament, 5% of what Yeshuah/Jesus had to say and 10% from everybody else (What’s wrong with this picture ?) The problem with organized religion is it is focused on sin, morality breeds immorality ! We would be Way further down this Road Called Love, if we were focused on “My command to you is this, Love one another as I have Loved you “ and not sin ! As you sit in church, think about all the sermons you hear all year, and look at how many are about obedience and sin, as opposed to Love. If there is more than two or three, it would be a lot ! Yeshuah was the Truth, the Light and the Way ! (not Paul!)
    Pray to the same person Yeshuah prayed to !
    LUV 2 ALL
    Wisdum

  • Cully

    someone wrote:”We are ALL sons and daughters of God, and Yeshuah in no more or less than that ! The difference is, we were ALL born with freewill, and He wasn’t. He was born with a specific cause, and that was to set an example and standard for us ALL, and that is Uncompromising, Unconditional Love !”
    to which I reply… Yeshuah had free will. Check out Matthew 15 verses 21 through 28 specifically.
    just my 2 cents
    Cully

  • Wisdum

    Re – Cully | October 23, 2007 9:07 PM
    Yeshuah had free will. Check out Matthew 15 verses 21 through 28 specifically.
    just my 2 cents
    Cully
    ** Communication is a bitch ! Let me clarify, Yeshuah absolutely had freewill. “It ain’t no sacrifice unless you volunteer” Sending anybody to their death ain’t no sacrifice either, on the part of the sender!
    God is a God of Life, not death. “Do not hold up graven images before Me” That is often mis-interpreted. Graven images are things with no Life” … If you have a “grave situation” it wouldn’t be a sculptured situation … would it ? I read it as “If you want to hold something up as an offering to Me, let it be things of Life, like new birth, a baby ! What in Hell are you thinking killing everything, in My name !”
    It is also interesting to me that they removed “He descended into Hell” from the Apostles Creed, and not in the Nicean Creed. You think they didn’t want to get into the Messiah spending 3 days in Hell, talk about a realy hot vaction spot ! There is the real payment for all of our sins, not the crucifixion ! And you are right it wass His choice to dfo that for us ALL !
    LUV 2 ALL
    Wisdum

  • Larry Parker

    Babs:
    Of course there is generosity in the spirit to pray for the self and pray for others (and I never said don’t pray for the self in general, I simply wondered isn’t it tempting G-d to pray for something specific — that you know more than G-d).
    And the observation about second helpings is simply the reverse of that in the ’50s, when my mom was told to eat all on her plate (which was too much) because “kids are starving in China” (and she became overweight as a result of her parents’ overfeeding).
    But again …
    With all due respect to your theologian friend (and theologians vary …), isn’t insisting that your prayers be answered (even if the answer is “no,” as it is quite often) tempting G-d? Doesn’t it smack of the prosperity Gospel that irritates us when we see televangelists preaching it on TV?
    And isn’t it against everything we are taught about G-d (well, except for your theologian friend, I guess) for a quarterback to pray for his elbow to be healed to keep making his millions (and succeed) and for a Darfuri woman who prays simply to have equal status as a child of G-d (which is not, IMHO, a selfish prayer) to have her prayer denied, as she is defiled again and again by evil men who are not even punished, by their country or the world?
    Second Corinthians in general, not just the story of the thorn in Paul’s flesh, is about how G-d uses our weakness for His glory. OUR weakness for HIS glory … is that a fair trade? One might argue nothing in life is fair — and that, as you say, G-d has all the power no matter how we might complain, so we might as well lay down and submit to it — but it smacks a little too much of the Old Testament G-d who bet Satan over Job’s soul.
    “God didn’t say, tough it out because it is good for you, or suck it up and get over it. God was saying that His power is made manifest when we realize we have no other recourse than Him. The benefit isn’t God’s, but ours.”
    I really don’t see the distinction, but I realize I may be edging too close to the very phenomenon I criticize, to claim to know the mind of G-d. So let me say this:
    The central question of Christianity — and central tenet of a Christian’s faith — that the Cross IS the Good News, is a paradox that literally makes no sense by earthly standards. Is this to say that not only Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, but **nothing** else on earth makes logical sense? That up is down and right is left and sickness is health, and we simply have to muddle through the best we can in this, well, h*ll on earth and count that things will be reversed in heaven?
    (Though it makes sense, I guess, that I discern this message from Paul, since he was preaching in a millennialist spirit, anticipating Jesus would soon rescue His believers from the Roman Empire — which was committing unspeakable, Darfur-like genocide against them — through the Apocalypse.)
    If so, I keep thinking of that house of funhouse mirrors that we’ve read about on BB recently. And if we have to check our maps at the door because they are useless, it is no wonder we are hopelessly confused and keep making wrong turns and shatter the mirrors and cut ourselves to bleeding with the shards — over and over and over again.

  • Cully

    Re – Wisdum | October 23, 2007 9:49 PM
    I think (God help me!) that i am falling into infatuation with you…
    on the free will thing… I have a friend who’s dad died of cancer of the mouth. It took a long time and was not pretty, BUT he always tried to be possitive and he had great Faith. One day (when my friend was very sad about his condition) he told her that we all choose something before we are made fleash that will be a sacrafice for mankind or a stranger. He said that if his cancer was his sacrafice then he was happy to have saved someone else from it. If his illness helped the doctors that cared for and treated him learn something new then it was all worth it.
    Of course, any hardship or illness is hard (maybe *hardest*) on those that love us, but my friend’s dad’s outlook has made things in my life easier to deal with. I like to think that my life (the bad as well as the good) and how I live it helps others in some way.

  • Wisdum

    Re -Cully | October 23, 2007 11:02 PM
    I think (God help me!) that i am falling into infatuation with you…
    ** I guess I don’t rate your Love yet… hmmmm, I guess I’ll have to try harder. (just a warning: some of God’s gifts are very dangerous. I have this gift to be able to verbily cut somebody’s legs off at the knees, and stand there with a smile on my face while they bleed to death … hmmmm, maybe I’m the Centurian, re-incarnated ?)
    I have a friend who’s dad died of cancer of the mouth.
    ** I think I’m going to die from diareah of the mouth !
    It took a long time and was not pretty, BUT he always tried to be possitive and he had great Faith.
    ** I can relate to that too. My other nome-de-plumb on the WWW,is “The Fool On The Hill” (the one that the Beatles wrote about, a long time ago) I’m now 66 and it has evolved to “The Toothless Old Fool On The Hill”… They wanted $18,000 to fix my teeth,after they made me look like a moron (or is the more-off ?) I said “Screw that! As soon as I lay out the big bucks, I’m gonna die, and have the best looking teeh in the cemetary !” … I already instructed my wife that I want this big toothless smile on my face when I die, so that everybody will bust out laughing when they come up to my coffin … Ahhhhh … tears of joy and laughter, that’s what Life is all about, not pain and sorrow !
    we all choose something before we are made fleash
    ** Right ! It’s called Freewill Audition in Heaven. You choose a part and are then “Cast down” (I’m into theater, “cast” is a theatrical term, usually implemented by the Director (God)but in His-story “The Book of Life” you get to play what you choose or want ! how cool is that !
    he was happy to have saved someone else from it.
    ** Yep !… “All things are turned to the good, for those that Love God” (as Gos Love you !)
    If his illness helped the doctors that cared for and treated him learn something new then it was all worth it.
    Right on ! … (Sacrifice is one Hell of a hard road to go down !)The real question of Life is “How much are You, willing to sacrifice, in the name of Love ?”
    Of course, any hardship or illness is hard (maybe *hardest*) on those that love us,
    ** That’s where the pain really is. There is a hole left in your loved one’s Lives, when you de-part. That is a very black hole, to be sure, especially if it involves Love (or Hate) You can either fill it with anger, remorse,and de-pression…or you can fill it with Loving menories and move on with your Life … You still have an important Part to play here… and “I have counted the hair on your head” … (and for me it is getting less all the Time)
    I like to think that my life (the bad as well as the good) and how I live it helps others in some way.
    ** Right on! . . You might not realize this, but your Father can’t ask or expect any more than that… especially when He keeps telling ALL of us “My command to you is this, Love one another as I have Loved you” … That’s “Uncompromising, Unconditional Love” as it plays out in Freewilly! (or is that Free Will ?)… Are we having fun yet ?
    LUV 2 U /LUV 2 ALL
    Wisdum

  • Cully

    re: Wisdum | October 24, 2007 9:31 AM
    of course I love you (that’s a given) and even if I didn’t you do not (ever) have to try or try harder to get someone’s love… if it’s not there, it’s not there and it has nothing (Not a thing) to do with you.
    I already sensed that your were dangerous (see my post at the other place).
    W: tears of joy and laughter, that’s what Life is all about, not pain and sorrow !
    When the love of my life died after the funeral the family was all sitting at table and his brother’s told a story about when he was about 4 and they lived in San Diego, there was a Beauty Salon that was long and narrow and from the screen door entrance you couldn’t see a thing inside (this is still making me laugh)… anyway the shop was full of ladies getting their hair and nails done and Stevie’s big brothers got him to stand at the screen door and scream. All the ladies started screaming and the boys ran away.
    I still love Steve (33 years after his death) and know that the best things we can leave behind are the smiles on our loved ones’ faces and the chuckles in their hearts.
    hugz ((Wisdum)) and love and Blessings

  • Babs

    Larry,
    You seem to misunderstand what I am saying by starting with the premise that praying for specifics is tempting God. My understanding of tempting God, is to live against what we understand to be God’s will and then expect rescue. The temptation to throw Himself from the top of the Temple by Satan was Jesus’s experience of it.
    Further, in no way did I say anything about insisting on the answer I want when I pray. In last week’s gospel we have the story of the widow nagging the unjust judge. Jesus offers her as an example of being persistent in prayer. The concept of being persistent and specific is for us. How often in praying for something do we not end up examining our motives and desires? I half-heartedly prayed about my marriage for twenty years. I began by praying for my husband to change. Then praying that the crisis’ we faced would make him change. In the end, it was me who changed, and in doing so, totally turned our terrible marriage into something that is now a tremendous comfort and strength to my husband and me. I looked expectantly for an answer for years. Tried to make myself “change” without any (and I mean any) success. There was much I had to work out within myself before any change could occur. I give total credit to God. I know that I could never have had the change of heart on my own. God’s power, glory if you will, was made manifest in my weakness. His Glory is not a selfish “gimme” but to bring us closer to Himself, in the image of His Son. Remember, we were made in the image and likeness of God. We have strayed far and His Glory comes in our restoration.
    I don’t have answers to the questions of why certain prayers are answered the way they are. The book of Job has many interrelated themes of which why the righteous seem to suffer and the unrighteous prosper, is but one. We all ask ourselves that one. If I could answer that, I would be God.
    BTW, who are you to judge whether a professional athlete, or anyone else, is less deserving of an answer to prayer? What if you are the answer God intends to the woman of Darfur?

  • Wisdum

    Re -Cully
    All the ladies started screaming and the boys ran away.
    ** Now how can you be de-pressed, living your Life with crap like that ! I did that all my Life ! … I still haven’t been able to convince (or is that pro-vince ?) my wife, to do this choreography with a shopping kart in the Super Market, dancing all over the store to the “elevator music” … dam! … I just realized why they call it “elavat-or music” cool! … Organized religion should get some of that stuff !
    LUV 2 U / LUV 2 ALL
    Wisdum

  • Wisdum

    RE -Babs | October 24, 2007 10:46 AM
    I don’t have answers to the questions of why certain prayers are answered the way they are.
    ** I do, I do ! (hand raised up in the air !) “My perfection is in your imperfection” … God looked upon what He had done, and said “It is good” … “Do not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” … “My command to you is this, Love one another, as I have Loved you” … (sorry “freewil” does not count as punishment !)… “Be careful what you pray for, you just might get it !”
    The book of Job has many interrelated themes of which why the righteous seem to suffer and the unrighteous prosper, is but one. We all ask ourselves that one.
    ** I seriously got into that book, and it took me days to read it. (the dam thing is so long, and the Power of Resistance did not want to to learn the secrets in there … (the best Way to hide a secrete is right in front of your face !)
    This is what I found. Right off the top, it states “Job was a very righteous man, the most righteous man on the face of the earth” (right there, that should tell you something about being righteous)Second, it appears that Satan (actually the Angel Lucifer) had some kind of competitive game or bet going on with God, and Job was the object of the game (ahhh, the plot thickens) So the object of the game, was to piss Job off (not to be con-fused with jerk-off)enough that he would reject God. He could do anthing he wanted, except kill Job … (I guess because he had to stay on the Job )From what I gather, this whole thing would have been over, if Job had just once called upon God and asked (being as righteous as he was)”What in Hell is going on here !, I’ve been good !” … ohhhhh,but no! …He resigned himself to “I’m just a worthless piece of crap, not deserving of antything!” …”God knows what He is doing, and I deserve all of it !” (does that sound familiar to any of you de-pressives out there ? especially all you Roman-tic adherants)
    What if you are the answer God intends to the woman of Darfur?
    ** I love that … “Put you money where your mouth is !” … I have to laugh at all these people that do nothing but complain “So what, that that all these rock stars and Bill Gates donated millions, they should donate even more, they are multi-millionaires, billionaires!” … Uhhhh, how much have you contributed?(or is the pro-tributed ?)
    LUV 2 U / LUV 2 ALL
    Wisdum

  • Larry Parker

    “BTW, who are you to judge whether a professional athlete, or anyone else, is less deserving of an answer to prayer? What if you are the answer God intends to the woman of Darfur?”
    Babs:
    So you’re saying if Kurt Warner would have been a devil worshipper, it would be wrong for him to (successfully) pray specifically for his elbow to heal, but since he’s a devout Christian, it’s perfectly OK? Strange to me.
    But then, that was the point of my closing in my last post — that these things are SO strange to me that I realize I am bordering on discussion of the divine, the very thing I am cautioning against. So I withdrew from the brink at that point.
    The things you assert with such confidence and faith are the same things I am hopelessly, utterly and completely confused about. And that explains our ongoing debate here (and inability to “hear” each other), as well.
    What to you is evidence of G-d’s grace is to me evidence of Panglossian theodicy. As I always say, I guess where you stand on these issues depends on where you sit.

  • Babs

    Larry, I give up. I don’t know what the heck you are talking about. I don’t know who Kurt whosis is and I didn’t mention devil worship. Your comments are all over the place and smack of arguing for argument’s sake. You bring up things I never said. My comments stand as they are. If you don’t care for them, please just ignore them.

  • Wisdum

    Re -Babs | October 24, 2007 6:32 PM
    Larry, I give up.
    ** Don’t give up Babs…Larry is in a “bad place” and needs all the support he can get ! He is going through the persecution stage of the illness, and “the best defense, is a strong offense” I’m sure if you’ve been there, you understand !
    I don’t know what the heck you are talking about.
    ** This is typical
    I don’t know who Kurt whosis is and I didn’t mention devil worship.
    ** We ALL hear what we want to hear … we ALL see what we want to see … We ALL feel what we want to feel … It is just more intense for the bi-polar personality
    Your comments are all over the place and smack of arguing for argument’s sake.
    ** Any argument is far better than no versation at all. The worst part of Hell is total, absolute dispair!
    You bring up things I never said.
    ** Any port in a storm
    My comments stand as they are. If you don’t care for them, please just ignore them.
    ** Then how would the need to be worth something in this Life manifest itself, especially at a sight desigened for empathy and compassion (and deliverance too)
    LUV 2 U /LUV 2 ALL
    Wisdum

  • Larry Parker

    Wisdum is right — I am going through a horrendous bipolar mixed state right now (manic energy, depressed mood).
    Babs:
    I was not meaning to be argumentative, I was honestly trying to understand where you are coming from. Maybe you’re just saying I can’t right now.
    BTW, Kurt Warner is the devoutly religious quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals, who won the Super Bowl when he was quarterback of the St. Louis Rams. He is famous in football (besides winning the Super Bowl) because he was one of the few players to come out of the “minor leagues” rather than college football to the NFL.

  • Babs

    I care enough about Larry to have been praying that he will find peace.

  • Larry Parker

    Permanent peace is impossible with this disease.
    Temporary peace, I will gladly settle for at this stage.

  • Babs

    Larry,
    I’m sorry for what you are going through right now. I wasn’t condemning you or giving up on you as a person. Far from it. I just couldn’t find any common ground in what we were saying. I sensed your frustration and didn’t want to feed it further.

  • Cully

    Re: Babs | October 24, 2007 6:32 PM – “Larry, I give up. I don’t know what the heck you are talking about. I don’t know who Kurt whosis is and I didn’t mention devil worship. Your comments are all over the place and smack of arguing for argument’s sake. You bring up things I never said. My comments stand as they are. If you don’t care for them, please just ignore them.”
    Babs, don’t *give up* – remember that sometimes, even though we have the answer, we are not the one(s) who are going to be heard, and sometimes the answer is to the wrong question and the questioner needs to ask a different question.
    don’t give up, just send thoughts and prayers of love and peace and hope.
    Blessings,
    Cully

  • Gigi

    I HAVE A BROTHER STEVE WHO IS IN CONSTANT PAIN AND MISERY…HE CANNOT HAVE A CONVERSATION W/O TALKING ABOUT IT….SEEMS THE DOCTORS JUST CANNOT FIND THE PROBLEM BUT NOW THEY ARE SUSPECTING A BLOCKAGE IN HIS SMALL BOWEL….IT IS FRUSTRATING TO HIS FAMILY, COWORKERS, FRIENDS,
    BUT NO ONE BUT THE PERSON SUFERING REALLY KNOWS HOW IT IS TO LIVE DAILY IN PAIN, BE STARVING BUT NOT ABLE TO EAT FOR THE CONSEQUENCES THAT WILL FOLLOW. PLEASE PRAY FOR HIM THAT GOD WILL SEND HIM TO THE RIGHT DOCTOR TO FIND HIS PHYSICAL PROBLEM AND THAT HE WILL FIND THE SPIRATUAL GROWTH IN CHRIST HIMSELF THE GREATEST OF ALL PHYSICIANS.
    HE IS SICK AND DEPRESSED AND SEES NO WAY OUT…AND YES IT LOOKS LIKE
    SELF PITY TO THE REST OF THE WORLD….. BUT WE ARE NOT WALKING IN HIS SHOES.
    THANK YOU.
    GIGI

  • Lorna Lee

    GiGi
    I am SO sorry for the constant pain and misery your brother, Steve, is experiencing. I have many challenges in the same vicinity of the body as he is dealing with, and KNOW how horrible it is to get a diagnosis (still don’t have one either) as well as to live with. He is blessed to have a sister like you who cares. Keep encouraging him to push through closed doors to find a doctor who will help him find the answers he needs. Keep strong, if possible. He will really need your strength to keep on keeping on.
    L.Lee

  • Sherri

    Therese, I’m SO GLAD to see that I’m not alone in losing my way when I attempt to pray. I’ll start off well enough, “Hi Lord, it’s me again…”, start my conversation with God, then after a few sentences my mind begins to wander. It may be 5 to 15 minutes (or longer!) later and I’ll pick it up again, “Oh, sorry Father, I forgot what I was saying, but let me continue…”. Sometimes it might take me hours to get through my prayer, saying all I want to say, because my concentration really sucks. It used to be very frustrating, but now it’s just, “Sorry Lord, let me finish so I can stop worrying about whether I’ve discussed this with You or not, and please excuse me if I repeat myself. You know how I am.”

  • Wisdum

    Re – Cully | October 25, 2007 11:30 AM
    sometimes the answer is to the wrong question and the questioner needs to ask a different question.
    ** This has been the problem with mankind, since the beginning of Time. The Questioner, needs the answer to the question, not the answer you prefer to give. This has alWays been the problem with organized religion, the answer “It is a mystery”, when you are teetering on the edge of the abyss, just don’t cut it !
    “Seek not to know all the answers, merely to understand the question” (Kung Fu) (if you do not understand the question…you will never know the answer !)
    LUV 2 ALL
    Wisdum

  • K. for now.

    Oct. 25, 2007
    Therese,
    That is a really good name, a special person I know has that same name.
    Last Sunday, the gospel reading was the same Luke gospel about the widow went to the judge several times before he finally gave up and listened to the widow. I like the the way you added the idea of her opening a can of TMNT (teenage mutant ninga turtles) on him.(:
    Our Priest gave a very good sermon about this gospel reading. It was on the same topic of yours- praying and patience with God. Your description of asking your father to buy cookies was similiar to Father D. sermon. Kind of light and uplifting. It made me smile. :)
    Father D. said that many people ask (Pray) for something, and just sit back and wait and wait and wait, never really getting involved in his or her prayer. Sometimes, then a person may feel that God does not care.
    In your girl scout story, you were active , like the widow in your request. That is kind of how Father D. explained the story of Luke.
    {{{He said, that praying with out action is like someone wanting hot water to come out of the faucet just by walking up and saying “I want hot water now”. [Additionally], we need to be involved in our prayer life. In order for the hot water to come out of the faucet, a person must actively be engaged. He or she must turn the faucet to make water to come out. Even then, the hot water may not come out immediately. Sometimes it takes a while before the hot water reaches the temperature the person needs.}}}
    I thought you might think this a good comparison to the one you made about anyone who is waiting and patience for an answer to prayers. :? :) I thought you or who ever reads this comment finds it kind of uplifting. Anyway, the way Father D. said it made me and some others in church last Sunday smile.
    K.for now.

  • angelascott

    I have every reasoning from God and just a little annoyed when people say that it’s all done in God Timing especially when the idea of a vision is pressing inside your mind ready to explode and come out. You had everything from a building, being able to accept credit cards, a bank account, incorporation,duns# a idea for a magazine and the only thing you needed was to partner with your church to start the project. You have done several projects without any money and to submit your idea to a big huge church to have it shot down and ignored was like being abused all over. The idea was to have an call-center for domestic violence, homeless and help young women like me who almost didn’t escape with their lives. Everyone I talked with was very cynical about the idea and the very fact it is a crisis today. For this reason I have left the mega church and have gone to a medium church and had to regroup through all of the lost from developing this program and the stupid and ignorance of reglious people and not God-fearing people. I don’t want it ever said that I was hear in the world blinded by injustice or even selfish when it comes to others.

  • anna

    Stay hopeful, and stay in the knowledge that gods plan , however crazy seeming will lead you to his door and will hold you safe. do not doubt in the happy ending. It is doubt alone that terrifies us and causes depression and more !

  • Rosa

    i love the whloe starbuck thing!!!! u made me laugh out loud!!!! thanx it felt good!!!! thanx 4 sharing your thought w/us!!!!

  • Karen

    Therese, You are a blessing, truly. Praying comes with some difficulty for me as well and I so appreciate your honesty and persistence.

  • cecilia

    Thank you so much for posting this. I too have difficulty praying and have always felt very bad about it as if it was a great disrespect to God. Reading your post made me feel much better.

  • Melissa

    Thank you for writing this. Just last night, I ran across Mary Oliver’s beautiful poem about praying, and it moved me and inspired me into sitting quietly and launching into a heartfelt prayer of gratitude….and then my mind wandered, and my stomach growled, and the cat did something cute, and I lost the train of my thought, and… You get the picture. I feel like such an amateur at this God/belief/faith thing after so many years of feeling unworthy of His attention (much less His love). Your essay, though, helped me see that my attempts to pray are better than nothing at all. God bless you and keep you healthy and safe. Keep writing!

  • Josephine Walton

    I have trouble saying a prayer over an d ov er..I try not to but i still do pray God will help me to do better in m y pray life..I believe the b ible whe m y husband read it to me he explain it that help a lot..i c an under stand it….Jo

  • Anonymous

    That article was amazing to me- tears filled my eyes as I read the part that stated (no exact words here)how great it is that our god is so kind and merciful he accepts our attempts and prayer and can accept those shortcomings in prayer. And for that statement alone, PRAY PRAY PRAY!!!!

  • Jo

    Theresa, I love your website on belief.net, depression, anxiety, the phobias, no sleep, had gotten worse, especially, now since my daughter is sick. you site gives me the hope and prayers for me, give my daughter hope and her two young children. to get through her illness. i just want to thank you, for being there to talk with people, and the prayers you have added. God bless you.

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