Catherine Connors is a mother, writer and recovering academic who traded the lecture hall for the playroom and discovered that university students and preschoolers have much the same attention span. She still dips her toes into academic waters by writing the occasional scholarly article about the place of motherhood in Western philosophy, but mostly now she changes diapers and wipes noses and indulges in long reflections on whether Yo Gabba Gabba is a harbinger of the decline of western civilization. Oh, and she blogs: in addition to Bad Mother blogging at BeliefNet, she is, among other things, the author of HerBadMother.com, Managing Editor of MamaPop, moderator of Her Bad Mother’s Basement, co-founder and co-editor of WeCovet, Contributing Editor at BlogHer, and (deep breath) founder of and contributor to Canada Moms Blog. And in her spare time… oh, wait. She doesn’t have spare time. But she’s okay with that.
Today is the National Day of Prayer. I love that. I’m also discomfited by it, a little.
I’m discomfited by it because – as I’ve said time and again – I have an ambivalent relationship with prayer. I have an ambivalent relationship with prayer because I have an ambivalent relationship with faith, and with God, and because of all of those ambivalences, I sometimes struggle with what it means to pray. Am I actually asking God for guidance or peace or grace? Am I engaging in quiet but active reflection? Am I meditating?
I like to think that it’s some combination of the above – even in my moments of doubting God, I cling to the idea that God is nonetheless there, and listening – who among us does not want to be heard? – and it’s this thought, this feeling, that it is each one and all of these things that keeps me praying, even as I wring my hands about prayer and disavow certain kinds of prayer and wonder whether I might be doing something more effective than praying. Because there is beauty and force in quietness and reflection and searching conversation, even if that conversation sometimes seems – seems – one-sided.
So, yes, I pray. I am conflicted, ambivalent, confused, anxious about faith, but nevertheless, I pray. Even if it sometimes doesn’t actually look like prayer – even if it sometimes takes the form of focused, grateful, reflective attention upon the things that I cherish, like this…
And it nourishes me.