Wednesday, August 10, 2022

August 10: Pray for the Death, Act of Hope, Punk Rockabilly Music

Santiago prays for death . . . 

He commenced to say his prayers mechanically. Sometimes he would be so tired that he could not remember the prayer and then he would say them fast so that they would come automatically. Hail Marys are easier to say than Our Fathers, he thought.

"Hail Mary full of Grace the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen." Then he added, "Blessed Virgin, pray for the death of this fish. Wonderful though he is."

All human beings hope.  It's built into our DNA.

Prayer is an act of hope.  Usually, people pray for things like an "A" on a final exam.  A job.  That pretty girl or guy to go out with you.  Your kid to get into a good school.  More metaphysically, you can pray for the world to be a better, kinder place.  If you're political (and have one functioning brain cell), you pray that Donald Trump will end up in prison orange.  Santiago prays for the death of the fish.

On the day my mother died, I prayed for her death.  Sitting next to her bed, watching her struggle to breathe, I simply wanted her to be able to relax.  Be comfortable.  When I was alone with her, I leaned in close to her ear, told her that I loved her and that it was okay to let go.  That we were all going to be okay.  "Dad's waiting for you," I told her, "and so is Sally and Kevin."

For a long while, I felt guilty about that prayer.  I realize now that it was a kind prayer.  A loving prayer.  A hopeful prayer.  My mother had suffered for a really long time.  I wanted her to be free of all that.

Tonight, I hosted another open-air concert.  An out-of-town punk rockabilly band.  Not the usual kind of music for library patrons.  The crowd didn't quite know how to respond.  Some of them really got into it, and some packed up early and left.  I loved it.  And that's okay.

Happiness is pretty subjective.  What makes me happy doesn't necessarily make other people happy.  Watching The Perks of Being a Wallflower over and over is not everyone's idea of a good time.  I could watch it on an infinite loop.  The same goes for hope.

If my siblings knew I was praying for my mother to die, they may have kicked me out of the room.  Told me to go home.  Questioned my love for her.  Or maybe they would have understood.  I'm not sure.  I knew she was going to die.  They knew she was going to die.  Perhaps the poet in me wanted to embrace the truth of the moment.  To give thanks for this woman who had shaped and loved me so much.  To hand her over to the universe and know that she was going to be okay.

I have a friend who is in a difficult situation right now.  I don't know how to pray for this friend.  What to pray for this friend.  So I just send out unspecified hope.  Hope that my friend can hold, mold, and shape into whatever is needed.  That's the best I can do for my friend at the moment.

Sometimes that's the best we can ever do, I suppose.  Hope and pray for . . . whatever.  Life.  Death.  Grace.  Beauty.  Blessings.

Saint Marty's blessing for tonight:  punk rockabilly music on a warm August night. 

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