I’ve been thinking a lot about my faith. Maybe it’s this time of year, living in NYC, when it quiets out of respect for those lost nine years ago. Maybe it’s because I’ve had this nagging feeling in my gut that I should head back to weekly mass. Maybe it’s because my professor advised me to read the Psalms, to once again find my spirituality. Who knows? But I’m thinking a lot about God.
As children, every night before we went to bed, my mother would tuck us in, and help us to say our prayers. She had to help, because out loud we had to name every member of our family…and being Irish Catholic, it was tiresome. On nights she was exhausted, she would allow us to emulate Tiny Tim, and say “God bless everyone.” It was tradition…to pray all day in Catholic school, to go to Church, to celebrate the sacraments…all those choices habitual and pre-ordained, no pun intended.
Now, I’m 32, laying in bed with nightly insomnia, counting sheep. Literally. I’m thinking the phrase must have come from somewhere – at one point someone truly believed this as a remedy for the sleep-deprived. Hot tip…it doesn’t work. As I picture the sheep, I’m labeling each one in my head…this sheep wants me to go to this meeting tomorrow and present this project that has been hoisted on my lap….this sheep wants me to run the ten miles that is listed on my training regimen…this sheep, little Chase-card carrying bastard that he is, wants me to start paying my student loans with money I have not yet been granted by the NY state lottery….this is why I like lamb chops so much.
Sheep don’t work, so, in an attempt to relive my youth, I try praying. Out loud, just like I practiced for so long. I think that God must know more than anyone that there is no shame in honesty, only freedom. And hell, I mean, heck, it’s not like he doesn’t KNOW what’s been going on. And if he doesn’t exist, then there is nothing lost here. I’m counting sheep for Christ’s, I mean, Pete’s sake (who’s Pete, by the way? – ok, I digress).
So I pray. To help me do better. To forgive and seek forgiveness. I pray that He is working on my future husband as much as He is working on me. I pray for the gift of being able to trust once again without fear of having my heart broken. I pray that there is a future out there that is bigger than one I can imagine for myself.
As a fellow blogger wrote: “You keep on…not because you’re so great, but because the terms of the game aren’t set by your limitations.” Really, what it comes down to is that I’m not going to take no for an answer, God. I’ve spent all these years, reaching for something at the top that I couldn’t quite get to, just out of reach, despite the promise of it, the leading on. It remains visible, tempting, glistening, and inches away from my stretched hand. In my attempts to lengthen my wingspan…instead I have fallen.
Here I am counting sheep at 2am, when the answer I’m so often told is to find peace in praying to a Shepherd. Oh the irony. How’s this? Dear God…I would like a ladder.