Prayers/Sadness/Rage/Despair

I’ve spent a good portion of my week asking, perhaps one could even say begging, friends to do something I rarely do myself:  to pray.

Perhaps there is some irony in me telling you I rarely pray, since I’ve talked before about being a fairly regular church going person of faith; but I’ve never told a lie here before.  And I don’t see any reason to start now.  Reasons for my lack of prayerfulness are many– busyness, laziness, deep theological questions about God and humanity and free will, and the belief that my higher power already knows what’s on my heart and what I need– are the first few that come to mind.  Please don’t tell Martin Luther.

But my faith community, Edina Community Lutheran Church, is living through desperate times.  And whether or not calling prayer a desperate measure is acceptable to people of faith who are more devout or more standard issue than myself, I’m calling it that.  A desperate measure.

Our beloved young pastor is suddenly and unexpectedly very, very ill.  The prognosis is uncertain.  It has left me in a state of fragility.  I hate fragility.  I like strength, predictability, reliability, and control.  And fairness and justice.  Nothing about this feels fair or just.  I fluctuate between rage and sadness, oftentimes with despair thrown into the mix.  I am mad and sad that she is in ICU and not writing one of her thought-provoking sermons for me to take in on Sunday, or putting final touches on the plans for Elise’s final year of confirmation, or practicing for the next time she’ll grace us with her beautiful violin music during worship, or fretting about the rife injustice in our world and working out a plan to make it better, as she is prone to do.   But most of all, I’m mad and sad that she is in ICU; and her husband, children, and family are forced to wait, and to live without her whole, vibrant, wonderful self.  She should be with them at the Minnesota State Fair, walking her dog, settling into their relatively new home, or reading bedtime stories to her kids, or doing any of the everyday mundane tasks that moms of small children do.  My powerlessness over the situation, and my lack of control of my feelings about the situation, feel paralyzing more often than not.

And so, I’ve prayed.  And asked others to do the same.  I want to tell you it has comforted me, but it feels wholly insufficient, which pretty much brings me back to sadness and rage.

And yet, I’ll keep praying and asking you to do so as well.  For there is simply nothing more for me to do.  I am grateful for a higher power who can meet me where I am in times like these.

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