I like to be careful writing about religion, because I am someone who believes that people can believe what they want, and take from religion what they may. But yesterday at Mass I heard something that I think anyone can relate to, whether or not they believe in God, Jesus, or the power of prayer.
Yesterday, at the Palm Sunday mass, the Priest said something in his homily that really struck a chord with me. He was talking about how he and his other priest friend went out friday night to buy their mega millions ticket, and on their way their he said a prayer, praying that he would be the one to win the mega-millions jackpot (and not his friend!). Of course, when the day came and the numbers were drawn, he didn’t win. He then went into how many times people pray and their prayers aren’t answered. How we pray for our loved ones who are sick, that they will get better, and soon enough, they get sicker, and eventually they die. There’s a reason it is a miracle when someone is all of the sudden healed…. because it happens so rarely. Of course, God can’t just keep everyone living, otherwise we’d all be immortal, so why do we even bother to pray? The priest said the most important thing we can ask for is for love and support from the people who surround us. So that our loved ones who are sick will die a comfortable death, with support from those around them. It isn’t about God protecting us from the tragedies of life, it’s about getting the support we need when we are forced to go through those tragedies. (After all, even Jesus wasn’t saved from a death by crucifixion pleading “God, why have you forsaken me?” something we, as humans, might question often)
Don’t get me wrong, I pray and hope and wish things that typically don’t happen. I’ve prayed for a cure for CF every chance I’ve had, I wish for it when its 11:11, when I break a wishbone, and when I wish on eyelashes. After 21 years, it still hasn’t happened. But when I look around me, I see what I truly need. Having to live with CF (and witness what it has done to others who have had to live with it) is surely something that has tested my will, that has changed who I am, and that has strengthened me in more ways than I can count. Do I pray that I, or any other person, will never have to live with it some day? Yes. But I also realize that God doesn’t just go around giving everyone miracles, that sometimes, at the end of the day, we have to deal with the cards we’ve been dealt, we have to carry our cross, bear our burdens. So when God doesn’t answer our prayers, we turn to love.
I have been lucky enough to have a family who loves me. And not only that, but I am lucky enough to be capable of loving and not just loving my friends and family, but loving this life I have. Whether you believe in God or not, I can bet you believe in Love. Having support and guidance and knowing that even if I’m someday too sick to be saved by a miracle, that I’ll always have love. Life gives us tragedy. Sometimes that tragedy is so awful that we wonder why God wouldn’t just save us from it. We will never have a real answer to why life can be so hard. But what we do know…is that when we have love to get us through it, that is enough, and when that is all God, or the Universe, or the chance of nature gives us… then maybe that is all we need.