Thursday, December 13, 2012

prayer versus hope

In just a few days, my babies will be 17 years old. What a lucky mother I am to have all three of the children I gave birth to still walking on this planet with me. Many mothers don’t have that blessing, perhaps for some, it is not a blessing. For me, I feel undeserving of the gifts I’ve been given in this life. What have I done to deserve a good life? Not much. I could have just as easily been born a female in some country where women are equal to shit and live oppressed their entire lives.  I'm grateful that my daughters get to live in a country where they have opportunity to realize their dreams. 

A good friend of mine told me a story about her son I will never forget. It totally changed the way I think about praying for anything. My grandparents forced Christianity on my brothers and me; we went to Sunday school and church almost every Sunday, and I hated it…for the wrong reasons. We were taught to pray to God for what we want because God listens to and answers prayers. I did a lot of praying when I was young and rarely got the requested results. Perhaps me living here on Earth was never part of any holy plan, or I’m not a member of His network.

My friend has five children. When one of her sons was eight years old, he stepped off a curb and was hit by a pickup truck going too fast to even slow down. He lay in a coma for months and she said they stayed with him at the hospital and prayed and prayed. She told me God answered their prayers, but they prayed for the wrong outcome. This was more than 20 years ago. He survived and is still living in a nursing home, severely brain damaged and physically unable to do anything for himself. The family bankrupted to afford his care. They go see him a few times a year, but there is no change and no hope for him.  It’s so sad.  How can we hope to know what we should pray for?  I wonder if she feels guilty for praying for him, as if not praying may have resulted in death?  I didn’t ask her.

I’ve been thinking about my brother a lot lately - the one who is a hopeless alcoholic. Something is going to happen soon, but I don’t know what that will be. He can’t last much longer, even though my other brother likens him to the Energizer Battery Bunny and insists he will outlast us. We have ganged up on alcoholic brother and are pressing him daily to make changes (go to rehab, stop driving, pack his stuff, move out). Alcoholic brother is a wreck – all the nagging is stressing him to his limits and driving him to drink more. He’s making more trips to the liquor store, increasing his chances for a DUI arrest while increasing the chance he’ll hurt somebody else. I wait, watch, and hope the outcome will be good…whatever it might be.


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