Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Check in: Body - hurts less today. Did legs. It'll hurt most on Friday. Tomorrow is treadmill. Looking forward to the treadmill. I LOVE the treadmill. Seriously.
Ang is doing well. Her major projects at work are cooling off right now, and pretty soon, she'll transition back to her permanent position.
Ali rules the universe. We went out for chinese tonight, and she ate sizzling rice soup! She is such a little grownup. Enjoy the karate outfit, although I'm afraid to wash it; one hot dry and it might be too small!
Tonight, I'm going deep.
I had a really sad moment as I tucked in Ali tonight. It was quiet. No singing, no story, but what I noticed the most was...
I thought, "we used to pray, didn't we? What was that prayer?"
Then, another shot of electricity in the chest.
Ali and I used to say together, "Dear God, thank you for making me (Ali) bigger, and Bella better, Amen."
On my knees while Ang was asleep with Bella in her belly, I used to say, "Thank you God for the healthy baby in my wife's belly," as I stared through the covers at my unborn child.
On my knees while Bella slept in her isolette in the NICU, tears streamed down my face as I begged and bargained with God that she have the EB Simplex that kids often grow out of by 2.
In my car on I-15 in Idaho and Montana, I asked God for not just a good outcome, but since I was asking, the best outcome out of any kid in the study so far.
On the park bench in Minneapolis, upon hearing, "I'm gonna take her home," I asked God, "Really? All of this... you lead us here with enough signs that I fill a book about it... all to just take her?"
In the most sincere humility I can muster, after all this, I'm pretty sure I don't know the first thing about prayer.
I know about faith. My faith is that I believe that God created every thing, and as such is a part of every thing and every situation. If that is the case, all I have to do is look for God in any moment and there God is. I believe therefore that I get to choose my response to any event, any circumstance, and in doing so, I affect the outcome, AND God has surrounded me with infinite ways to affect that outcome. It's just up to me to choose.
What I freely admit I no longer know anything about is prayer.
What is prayer? Is it a request? Is it a thank you? When I used to work in hospice, I didn't pray to God to save anyone's life. I prayed for comfort along their journey from life to afterlife, and I prayed for comfort for their family. I felt pretty grounded in that type of prayer. For those of you that have been here since Bella's birth, you may recall me asking this same question. I asked whether or not it is right to prayer for a miracle. Why is my agenda more important than anyone else's, and if God has a divine plan, than why is my agenda more important than God's? If God has a plan, how could I even fathom a sliver of it?
The day God told me he was taking Bella home, as I was walking to the hospital, I saw ants walking in the crack of the sidewalk. God asked, "Can those ants see what you can see?"
"No." I replied.
"But are they in the same reality?"
"Yes. They are in my reality, even though I - as I know myself - may not exist the same way in theirs."
Try to wrap your brain around how a human occurs to an ant. Do they notice we shaved? Can they tell we failed a chemistry test? We are giants in their world. They simply don't have the capacity we have. They have different capacities, but even though we are in the "same world at the same time," our worlds are very different.
So it is with humans and God.
I loved the connection I felt to God all those mornings on the park bench in Minnesota. That's what kept me on track and grounded. I knew that every morning, I had to walk into that hospital, quietly sing in Bella's ear her good morning song from my heart, then instantaneously turn my heart off, and switch on my clinician brain, walk out into rounds with 10-12 professionals, and not only keep up, but make sure nothing slipped through the cracks of the endless but necessary rotations and teams that it took to keep Bella alive every single day. I needed that talk with God every morning. I know I wouldn't have been able to operate as powerfully on Bella's behalf without that partnership.
My faith is first and foremost pragmatic. It empowers me to live at a higher performance capacity than without it. It allows me to still function AT ALL in the face of this journey. It's like how I talked about physical strength last night. Spiritual strength works in its own unique distinct way.
How can I have faith and have such a breakdown in prayer? Because my faith isn't perfect, and I'm not perfect. I have breakdowns in areas of life every. single. day. However, I work at not making myself wrong for them.
Seriously? I want to make someone/something wrong for my record on prayer. I guess I thought that some prayers get answered and some don't. Well, I feel like in that context, I'm in a prayer slump. I'm like 0 for my last 4 big ones. It's left me scratching my head. I am currently resigned to being God's steward. Whatever he gives me, I'll work with and transform into something better/more beautiful. However, I have retired from asking for him to give me or not give me any particulars anymore. That doesn't seem to be the ticket.
Maybe I'm just unlucky. Maybe I'm about to go 4 for 4 on prayer requests if I just try again.
Maybe that's not what prayer is about at all. Maybe prayer is more about the process than the product.
I'm 38, raised in the church, left and pursued multiple different spiritual paths, return in my early 30's, and feel like I'm 4 again. I thought performing a musical instrument was life long learning. This spiritual journey is more than that.
What is prayer to you?