I just finished re-reading part of LIT, by Mary Karr. When she’s talking about being brave about spirituality and praying I started feeling a little antsy and also intrigued.
Y’all, I want to pray.
Religion is a damn hard thing for me: my own mother thinks God is a joke. She thinks people are fooling themselves to believe that some man in the sky is waving his arms and controlling it all. That religion is a collection of stories made up so rich men get richer and the poor just get religion.
In my own self I am suspicious of myself for thinking about taking spirituality seriously.
But I need it.
This quote got me:
“I’ve hitchhiked in Mexico and blustered drunk into biker bars all mouthy. Those acts all strike me as more pitiful than brave- the sad bravado of a girl with little to lose.”
That was me: I drank so much and the way I did because I had little to lose. Even a husband and children did not seem to be big enough to make me understand that I had worlds to lose. I felt worthless all the time. Unconnected to a thread within myself than made me feel cradled and valued. Worthy.
I’m starting to feel like prayer and the Great Spirit are all part of the puzzle. That I need to feel the higher power that is part of me, not apart from me.
“You don’t do it for God! You do it for yourself. All this is for you…the prayer, the meditation, even the service work. I do it for myself, too. I’m not that benevolent.”
“How does getting on your knees do anything for you?”
“Janice says, ‘It makes you the right size. You do it to teach yourself something. When my disease has a hold of me, it tells me my suffering is special or unique, but it’s the same as everybody’s. I kneel to put my body in that place, because otherwise, my mind can’t grasp it.'”
Yesterday was hard. I ate too many pieces of chocolate and a handful of Girl Scout cookies at 11 PM when I couldn’t sleep. I powered down three pieces of deep dish pizza for dinner and made myself feel a little sick. I knew I was off, I knew my sweet self was wobbly and I had no where in me to go.
There is reaching out for help, and then there’s being able to reach in for help. I have got to be able to reach in: I am by nature not comfortable sharing my struggles with others. When life is being regular day to day life I need a place in me to touchstone for comfort: a place to say “Here comes the crazy making. Help.” I have people I can lean on for support, but I need myself to be part of that group.
And in myself I think there is God. I think that by being able to pray, to lay down burdens and offer gratitude I can continue heal my little to lose self. It comforts me to think that I can get quiet and have a place of my own to go when I feel anxious. It makes me uncomfortable to get all God-y and help me Jesus, but so be it. I’m taking offers of help from all Great Spirits out there- anyone who will listen.
“‘Faith is not a feeling,’ she says. It’s a set of actions. By taking the actions, you demonstrate more faith than somebody who actually has experienced the rewards of prayer and so feels hope. Fake it till you make it. Didn’t you fake half your life drinking?'”
“Wouldn’t any god be pissed that I only show up now, with machine gun fire on my ass?”
“‘First off- can’t you see this?- you have a concept of God already. It’s one who’s pissed at you.'”
I don’t feel like God is pissed at me, just indifferent. But in my life I have longed for a savior. But I have always felt that that savior was part of myself: that it could be found in the trees and in a simple kindness. That I didn’t have to put on a skirt and get to a building one morning a week to find that savior, but that it is all around me.
And then I sort of snort at myself in my head. Fool.
But it keeps coming up.
It keeps coming back.
Find some religion. Find a spirit. Pray some. Be vulnerable, even when I feel like a fool and want to pretend I don’t believe. Find some magic, make it my own.
“‘You were saved for something,’ she says. Don’t die before you find out what. What’s your dream for your life?”
“Just pray every day for ninety days and see if your life gets better. Call it a scientific experiment. You might not get the money, but you might find relief from anxiety about money. What do you have to lose?”
And truthfully, I need some back up.