Thursday, November 6, 2008

stop whining and start praying (I think)

So it's all over but the whining.

Is anybody else as drained as I am? Not by the outcome of the election, but by the response to it? I am disappointed in the results (particularly that Proposal 2 failed in Michigan -- embryonic stem cell research got a big green light) but I will not give in to the urge to whine, complain, and/or move to a foreign country or neighboring planet.

As I mentioned in my last post, I intend to do my best with what I've got. Elections and politicians will come and go. Laws will change, statutes will evolve, and, while cultures and nations rise and fall, God will stay the same.

I felt sad yesterday, and when I talked to friends and family and popped around on the net I felt even sadder. Some of my loved ones are not just disappointed, they are bitterly angry. I'm praying that they will come to a sense of peace. President-Elect Obama is not in charge here...God is. We have to return to that fact again and again.

Speaking of prayer, I got into a very passionate discussion on the subject with the Big Man and our eldest son last night. I was sharing my thoughts on prayer, that I have felt lately that it is rather ridiculous to submit a request list to God and then feel let-down when my demands are not met. I can ask God to bless our nation with a president who respects life. But God is certainly not going to say, "OK, Cathy. You have said enough rosaries and prayed enough Holy Hours. You have met the prayer quota, so I'm going to place your candidate in the White House."

My experience, and I believe Catholic theology, tell me something quite different about prayer. Prayer is communication with God. We can offer praise, adoration, seek reconciliation, or complain. We can, of course, ask for things or situations, graces and blessings. But prayer does not change God. It changes us. And God will always respect our free will. He will not answer one man's prayer by forcing HIs will on another.

I admit that when I hear that Bob is ill and asking for prayer, I don't ask for a healing. I ask that Bob be blessed with the grace to bear his cross. I ask that God's will be done through Bob's sickness.

Some of this attitude certainly comes from the fact that I have seldom seen my prayers answered in the way I'd like. When I prayed for a bike when I was 12, I didn't get one. When I prayed for career successes, they didn't materialize. (At least not yet! :))

When I asked God to spare my daughter's life, she died.

I am not bitter, don't get me wrong. I consider myself a realist (my husband and son prefer pessimist) who accepts the truth that life, well, sucks. (Pardon the expression.) Since Adam and Eve chomped down on the apple it all went downhill. We are not promised happiness in this world (remember Our Lady's words to St. Bernadette?)

That is not to say that we will not experience genuinely happy moments this side of heaven. Most of us will have our share -- the birth of our children, the love of our spouses, good health, enough to eat, roofs over our heads. We have the beauty of nature and the blessings of creative, good people who try to serve others. But all the happiness in the world is just a shadow of the real happiness we'll experience in heaven if we stick it out here.

The conversation with my men did not end well. My husband muttered something about wanting to end it all after chatting with me, because my view of life is so depressing. My son kept his positive spirit, but was clearly disappointed in his Mom's belief that not much good will come our way here.

He had a few good questions for me. "Why do you write on your blog if you don't think anyone will read it or care? Why did you write your book? Don't you have hope that someone will hear what you have to say?"

I admit I do hold onto a shred of hope that some of my worldly dreams will come true. I just know that God is not Santa Claus and he won't automatically wrap up my requests and put them under the tree.

I figure Jesus died on the cross for me and everything else is gravy.

Am I wrong? Or should I just pray a little harder for that new bike?


Aaron said...

So what about the parables that refer to not giving your child a snake when they ask for bread, or the old lady that kept asking and asking until the judge granted her request? Do you think these might demonstrate that prayer works?

Your thoughts?

Cathy Adamkiewicz said...

I do not think these refer to material goods. God will not give us spiritual snakes when we ask for graces.
But he may send us a charm for our bracelet when we ask for a bike.

Anonymous said...

But did God send you the bracelet or did God influence the free will of your parents to buy the charm?

Laura said...

You are spot on.Lovely words as usual.
(And, doesn't it feel awkward when someone thinks you don't really care because you aren't walking around sulking and angry?)

Soul Pockets said...

Right on Cathy! It is time to move forward.

God knows what He is doing.

Maybe through all of this election business God is trying to get US to answer some prayers. To work harder, pray more, not be afraid and silent to the things we believe in.