Monday, January 3, 2011


I used to make cards for people--when I was little I dreamed, for a bit, of drawing and writing for Hallmark. Mostly I believed that I could make someone smile with construction paper, markers, crayons, and a good word. At least, the old lady who was home-bound on Raymond Street thought so. Or my aunts and uncles, friends and siblings.

However cheesy (you may think) Hallmark is (and often I do, too) we can say that it’s a manifestation of the way we seek to communicate with each other--in serious, silly, loving, or odd ways. Some don’t know how to put those words together, but I have always felt compelled to create my own combination of images and grace, little prayers in a compact package.

Guess I haven’t changed much.

I’m reaching back always to that guileless sense of self I had at 10 or 11 years old, knowing that if I just gave it my whole heart, that all would be well. I believed my father when he said that whenever I was afraid I should pray the Our Father. I am, as everyone who knows me knows, an idealist, but old age has tempered this with experiences both my own and of others.

So I pray for myself, but I pray for others--for those of you reading who are skeptical or caustically pessimistic at worst; for the children in wheelchairs I pass when I take my daughter to the hospital for pre-surgery check-ups; for those in deep conflict with others; those who struggle with depression or loneliness; those who care for a loved one who is ill; those separated from a beloved stationed in the Middle East; those who feel they have nothing to believe.

These and more. I know I tend toward lists, but prayers seem like lists to me of what we desire from God, from ourselves, and what we’re grateful for, when we pause and consider. This list is long and hard to make look savvy, and so I am straightforward.

The best kind of prayer.

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