Thursday, December 20, 2007

say a little prayer for you

A while back I wrote a post about how I assume my parents pray for me, and that's all fine and good since I know it brings them comfort, even if I don't believe it actually has any causative power.  I also wrote how I would prefer they don't inform me that they pray for my return to the church, out of respect for my world view. Further, I find it offensive to believe that god would help me on my exams or whatever, just because I or someone else prayed for it, while apparently ignoring bigger problems in the world like thousands of dying in natural disasters and wars, just because they aren't praying to him, too.   But I realize that as believers, they will and do pray for me, and I've accepted that, and they've had the good sense to keep it to themselves.

Until the other day.  

I was talking to my mom on the phone, informing her of my latest health woes (now you know why I haven't left the country yet), and at the end of the conversation, I could tell she was hesitating about something.  Finally, she blurted out, "Well, I'm praying for you.  I know you don't believe in that stuff...but I do.  So I still pray for you."

Her tone was upbeat and friendly, enough to make me laugh in reaction. It didn't seem self-righteous or like she was trying to shove her beliefs onto me at all; it was just a statement.  It was almost a little apologetic, like she was very aware I held different ideas than her.  

So I told her that's fine.  And it felt fine, too.  Praying for me during my hard times is something she does to feel a little bit more in control of circumstances way beyond her control, and a little bit of comfort.  And that doesn't seem so bad, does it?


Anonymous said...

Nope. It really doesn't seem too bad.

That's wonderful. No one in my family, or in Fig's, talks about us not being in the church anymore. At all. My dad has never, ever said a single thing about it.

So, I think it's wonderful that she's willing to pray for you and admits it makes HER feel better.

Rebecca said...

I think it's only rude and insulting if people are praying for you to change, despite you saying you're happy with your decisions. Praying to make you feel better, or do well, or anything like that - I think that's kind of nice. Just sending positivity into the universe on your behalf. Why not, right?

from the ashes said...

jennifer (it took me a minute to figure out who you were without your normal screen name :) ) Most of my family pretty much avoids the subject, too. Things like my mom's comment come up rarely, and I was happy that it didn't bug the hell out of me.

rebecca- Right! That's a good distinction.

Mai said...

Oh, dear, I have a confession to make.

My youngest brother can't decide whether to be an atheist or to just hate God for the pain and injustice in the world. He lacks the courage, I think, to throw out a belief in God. (Standing for whatever you find to be 'truthful living' always takes a lot of courage.)

Anyway, I always tell him I'll pray for him, mostly because I enjoy his squirming. You see, unbelievers like him can be as self-righteous as true believers. And I enjoy calling him on it!

But I never tell him WHAT I'll pray for him. For what it's worth, I pray he'll find peace inside himself.)

Eva said...

Hey there! Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, and Happy New Year! My mom the other day told me how proud of me she was for still going to church, and I tried to be completely honest if brief that what I got out of it probably wasn't what she thought, and that I go when I want to, and often leave early if I feel like it, and how great it is that I can choose that since my husband doesn't have a stake it it. And she told me that she was praying for him, too. I was taken a bit aback, so I just blurted something about how she has way more faith than me, and that I liked him just the way he was. She's pretty TBM (though probably more liberal than most) so families for her aren't forever unless the temple is involved, and she wants what she sees as that "fullness of joy" for me. So even though I am quite happy and joyful in my marriage, I can see that she just wants the best for me that she knows, and I have to just interpret it like that instead of feeling insulted that she can't understand. (I didn't tell my a total areligious person he probably would be insulted. Plus, I don't want her to blame him in any way when I decide to take a vacation from church. Its all me, really, he lets me do what I want. Of course.)