When I was a teenager, I used to pray to God every night. I would lie awake in bed, staring at the ceiling and just talk to God. I have always felt comfortable doing this, mostly because I grew up in a Christian school and God was always there. Granted, the school was filled with judgement and hypocrisy and many other ludricrous things, but God was still there. A church is still a place of worship and I firmly believe that one can find God there.
I think my faith in God and my prayers were what got me through those tumultuous turmoil-filled years. All the pain and suffering, and the salty tears and bleeding. The tears have dried and the scars have long since faded, and still I stand before you, a survivor.
I spent an entire summer praying for a best friend, begging God to send someone to me that understood me and would stand by me. I needed someone to have faith in me because the world was so lonely to me. It was back then and it still is now. He sent me a best friend. She is still my best friend. She knows me inside and out, upside and down, in the midst of all of my topsy turvy-ness. She is one of the few that has always been able to see my clearly and can always tell me what will happen next in my life, even when it covered with so much fog and when it feels it is fading away.
I spent the next summer praying for Love, for that Big Kind of Love. I wanted a first love that was magical, a love that could heal me and surprise me and take me someplace far away. I just let go of that man this summer, of that first love. I got that Big Love. And it lasted for an equally good and bad five years. I will always love him. I didnt ask God for a loveR that would stay in my life forever, but for a love that would. And I got it.
And for both, I am eternally grateful.
But somewhere along the course of my life, I stopped praying. Tragedy after tragedy struck and they piled upon me like concrete rubble until I couldnt breathe anymore. Somewhere along the way I lost my faith. In both God and in myself. But I suppose they are both the same thing.
I rediscovered my spirituality in India and reawakened my faith in God, but after all those years without a word between us, I was too ashamed to ask him back into my life. I mean, who goes years without a phone call to someone they call their friend? I acknowledged his presence, but I had too much pride to pick up the phone and pray.
Until one night when I knew I was going to die. So I dialed the number.
And thank God, he picked up.
I will never forget that night. Its documented in a journal somewhere, buried away under pages and pages of grief and misery. I looked in the mirror and knew that the skeletal sick girl staring back at me didnt have much time left. I had to do something. I had to get help. There was no other option. And so I asked God for the only thing I could think of, the only thing I really needed.
Please make it stop because I cant live another year like this. Please help me quit this because I cant be this person anymore. I’m going to die. And I dont always want to be alive, but I REALLY dont want to die like this.
And that was the night I gave up drugs.
But even after he swooped down and saved me, picked me up from the mess that I was and gave me the strength to go on and face everything that was weighing me down, I was still too ashamed to begin mending our relationship. I found a fleeting inner peace while I was in therapy. But the stillness I had found evaporated when I headed back into reality, the only reality I have ever known, and in its place, my inner chaos resumed.
I fought it. I found a way to feed it. I placated it.
But this summer it all boiled over. My therapist scolded me, told me I wasnt maintaining my state of peace. He told me it was like going to church and every week I needed to pray. He didnt mean it literally, but it all kinda clicked a few days ago.
I needed to pray. I need to ask help from the one sure standing person who has always been there. And so every day I pray. Multiple times a day, I pray. I pray for what I need, I pray for my friends, I pray for everything.
And thank God, I have found some peace inside.
I pray for God to help me find my way, but please dont tell me where it is I am going until I get there. I am a planner and a packer. I will plan my emotional course and then pack my emotions into a duffel bag until I get there. No room for souvenirs or surprises.
I pray for God to help me make good decisions. And when I dont know what the good one is, dear God, please just dont let me make the bad one.
And mostly, I pray to God to help me take deep breaths.
Because more than anything else, I need help staying calm.
Whenever I feel lonely, I just start to pray. And it works. And the thing is, the rest doesnt really matter.