What If?

Yesterday I saw a post on a friend’s Facebook wall that really made me stop and think. The post read “What if you woke up today with only the things that you thanked God for yesterday?” I can honestly say that my answer to this question found me waking up with my friends, my family, many cherished memories and a pretty good life so far. If you’ve read anything about my family on this blog, you probably know that my mother was raised Catholic, but was ex-communicated from the church for leaving an abusive marriage. That was in the 60’s and the church and priests still really held to the belief that divorce was a sin, despite the reason. For this, and some other reasons, by the time I came along, my parents were less inclined to raise me as a Catholic. My dad wasn’t Catholic either and though they did not discourage the religion, they just didn’t point me in any one direction when it came to faith. My parents told me that they would take me to whatever church I wanted to go to, and when I was old enough to make that decision, they would support the church that I chose. They explained that our relationship with God is a personal one and they raised me with Christian beliefs and ideals, though not your typical “organized” religion. I cannot thank them enough for this today. Just for the record, I do believe in a higher power and I try to live my life the best way that I can. I believe that honoring my parents, treating others with respect and love, honesty and kindness all ultimately honor God and have shaped me into the person I am today. And I do believe very much in prayer, which kind of leads me back to the post that I saw on my friend’s wall yesterday.

Prayer has been a daily meditation of sorts for me since I was a child. I think that every kid learns the following prayer: “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” I went to a private, Christian school as a child and I too learned this little prayer. I remember telling it to my mom and dad one night at bedtime. (They liked to come in and pray with me when I was quite small.) My mother’s reaction to this prayer was one that I did not count on. She said it was a nice little prayer, and she understood why it was a favorite to teach children, however, she did not want me thinking about dying. Fear of retribution was a favorite tactic of the church when my mom was a kid and she remembered how she felt fearful that God might punish her if she did something wrong. So rather than praying about whether or not I should die in my sleep, or memorizing lines that rhymed to help me pray, my parents’ suggestion was a simple one, but one that I still use today. Just before I go to sleep, I thank God for all the things I have in my life, especially the people who are closest to me, and I am very fortunate to have many. (Of course, I’m far from perfect so I also ask to be forgiven of my sins and for guidance to try to make each day better than the last.) I have prayed many prayers… more lately than usual due to the circumstances of the past few months and I find it comforting and a good way to end my days. And after reading that post yesterday and waking up today with everything and everyone that I hold dear here with me (whether in body or spirit), I am more indebted than ever to my wonderful parents who shared with me such a simple idea so many years ago.

One Response to “What If?”
  1. thanks for sharing, Jen. Very thought provoking.

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