Safety Not Guaranteed

For as long as I can remember God has been my center.  I knew this even as a small child.  Now, as an alleged grown person, I wonder what that means.  I was raised with a simple faith.  I do not think my family meant to give me such a flimsy faith, but they could only give me what they had.  I was told to put a Bible under my pillow to protect me from bad dreams (it has never worked and I still suffer from bad dreams).  I was taught that you pray.  I somehow absorbed that if we pray we can get everything that we need.  This is simply not true.
 
I have to tell you that every single time I realize that there is no safety net as I walk this high wire, it is as if my body is being slammed onto a brick wall at a high speed.  It just sucks that there is no protection for us.  So I have always struggled with prayer and to figure out who this God is that I am drawn to, whom I beg to stay by my side.  
 
Dear God, please be with me.  
 
I always thought that my safe passage in this world was guaranteed because I was in the God club; I was saved.  Isn’t that what saved means?  As a girl I had many prayers: that we could live in a house, that the scars on my knees would go away, and that my dad wouldn’t have cancer anymore.  My dad died of cancer.  I never lived in a house with my dad.  My knees are still banged up.  

God, I am so tired.  I need strength.
 
So with my heart and guts wrenched out, why is it that I still find myself praying to this God?  
 
God, you have thousands upon thousands of angels.  Can you send one in please.  I know you can.  
 
So what the shit is prayer for anyway?  I met a girl in college who I grew to love.  I knew that I could not live without her.  But I was so afraid of her dying.  She was so sick.  I wanted to pray for her healing.  I wanted to ask God to let me keep her.  I knew prayer did not work like that.  I prayed anyway.  My prayers were always frantic and beggy.  They still are.  I wept and sobbed.  I carry with me so many stories of unanswered prayers: stillborn babies, orphaned children, uncured illnesses, burned down and flooded homes, small wounds that led to amputation because there wasn’t enough money to see a real doctor, a starving mother with twins who only has enough milk to nurse one baby.  I hold these tragedies in my heart, and carry them with me wherever I go.  My natural inclination is still to pray.  
 
Please, God.  Please help.  Send help soon. 
 
[cricket chirping noises]
 
There isn’t anything else to do but pray.  That is why I still do it.  I get so mad sometimes that God brought me into this world.  I did not agree to the terms of this life.  Yet here I am- alive.  This life on this earth is so very, very, painful.  I have lost things I cannot live without.  I will continue to lose people I cannot live without.  We are subjected to great suffering here.  
 
God, I am so tired.  
 
Why am I still here?  Because I can hear God calling me to stay.  It feels like I am treading water in the cold open ocean and the sharks can smell blood.  Every now and then, I feel warmth, I get a deep breath, someone lets me rest my head on their shoulders and swims for me.  The girl I met in college is healed.
 
God, thank you.  Just- thank you.  Help me hold on to this relief.
 
Before I feel rested I am back to treading water again with salt water up my nose, chapped lips, and a sore body.
 
Ugh, God.  I don’t know how much longer I can do this.
 
I still hesitate to pray.  It is hard to ask when the answer seems to so often be a still and silent- no.  I just cannot resist prayer.  Even when I am filled with doubt, my mind does it anyway.  I ask for the easiest way out of things, and the only thing God gives me is God.  I am not promised safe passage through this world.  I will continue to have my heart wrenched out of my chest.  God will continue to be there by my side like a faint whisper.  

 

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