2016-06-30
You say you wake up in the morning and say, "Thanks, God--I have another day." How do you maintain that spirit of gratitude?

Well, I have no memory now. I'm almost 52. I started out very absent-minded as a child, and always have been that way. Getting older and menopause have not really heightened my ability to remember things.

So I actually wear a little tiny gold ID bracelet that says "Annie" on one side. On the other it says "LGB," which is "love, gratitude, and breath."

Those are the three things that I need to pray for most: to remember love.


I pray for knowledge and experience of divine love everywhere around me and within me.
 'Love, Gratitude, Breath'
In all these people, half of whom just annoy me to death–just say government people, hypothetically–I try to see the divine love from which each person springs. Even me.

G is for gratitude. When I'm in gratitude, if I even stop and make a list of the things I'm grateful for, that's a form of prayer. It breaks my trance of misery or self-absorption.

And then breath: I often forget to do quieting, peaceful, centering breath. I become worried or annoyed, or in traffic, or having one of these insanely infuriating conversations with my sixteen-and-a-half year old, say about the car, then I have the "B": it's on my arm to breathe. Once I breathe and sigh and just start practicing that presence of breath, then things become a lot more spacious, and I behave better.

I want to go back to when you talked about how Jesus just said 'hi.' Is that an extension of your conversion experience, when you were lying there that night and felt the presence of someone sitting in the chair?

Saying Hi to Jesus
I didn't want him to be there, when that happened. That was just mortifying for me, as a hip intellectual agnostic who really hoped to become a devotee of more Eastern religions.

So when I found Jesus there, it was just really a nightmare. It was like the Mister Rogers of deities. But it's different when I call on him [now].

When I first started going to my church 21 years ago, I was still drinking. So I would often show up with these extreme hangovers. But what I would hear is these very, very old people from the South, saying "He's only as far away as his name, he's only as far away, call on the name of the Lord " and "He shall hear you, he shall answer, he's only as far away as his name."

So it might be a habit that if I said "Jesus," or if I just said, "hi," there's only one person I'm reaching to. I got into the habit of calling for, reaching out to, and then experiencing this very, very dear parental response, as a mother or father might speak in the night when the child is afraid. Say, "I'm right here, what's up?"

What do you say to those people who pray, and pray, and pray, and don't have their prayers answered? Prayers for healing, prayers for repaired relationships?

One thing we need to pray for--one thing I certainly need to pray for--is the ability to bear not getting my own way. I have prayed so hard for certain people to be healed, which to me would mean they would live a great deal longer, but which seems to mean…. I've never seen someone die without a healing. I've only seen people have profound healing even though it turned out they weren't going to live forever.

Unanswered Prayers
I've seen people given time they could have never imagined they would get, [time] to savor and close up shop in a really graceful, rich, nourishing way.