Wishing I Could Pray
I had this strange thought when I woke up in the early hours this morning about prayers and wishes.
I have had a really hard time sleeping during this pregnancy. The kind of nights when you try so hard to fall asleep but can’t. And I wished that it could be reversed, that I could trade not being able to fall asleep for waking up early. And you know what? It kinda worked out that way. Thank God, because the delirium was almost making me drool a little bit during the day.
And this week I have been praying like Joan of Arc for a friends child, who is just so super sweet and so super sick. Things finally look like they could be turning around.
I’ve prayed for a lot of things in my life. For healing, for comfort, for guidance, for grace.
I’ve wished for a lot of things in my life. To win. To be skinny. To be rich. To live somewhere where the temperatures never include minus-freeze-your-nuts-off-in-an-instant.
Anyway, for some reason, when I first woke up this morning, I had this thought about wishes and prayers. What’s the difference? Is there a difference? As usual, my non-committal answer is yes and no.
A prayer is a wish with substance. When we think something is important enough, or valid enough, we’ll pray for it. We’ll make it an official request. We feel like its worthy of being heard and answered, and believe that someone is listening.
A wish is more frivolous. We wish for selfish reasons. Things we want, but may not need. The nice to haves. But maybe, just maybe, we know deep down that winning that race or having that boy like you are not as important as other things. Or maybe we wish because we don’t believe anyone is listening.
But essentially, you’re doing the same thing.
So this odd thought I had as my wish was granted this morning somehow gave me some sort of spiritual awakening. Prayers are for people who know they are never completely alone. People who know that someone is listening.
Wishes are for those who think they are alone in this world. We wish because we have lost part of or all of our faith or never had any reason to have it in the first place. But you know what? Someone is listening, and just because you don’t know this doesn’t change it.
I think sometimes that the word pray makes people feel awkward. I’m terribly guilty of this. Sometimes the religious extremists out there put a bad taste in our mouths. We associate people who talk about prayer freely as Bible thumping scary people. Cults. As usual, it’s a few crazy fucks who ruin things for the rest of us normal folk.
So wish, pray, hope, dream. Whatever you want to call it. But regardless of the “class” of your request, or pain, or need, take comfort in having someone to talk to.
Have faith, even as you toss your penny in the well. Someone heard you.