Prayer

It occurs to me that I have been walking through each day, waiting for God to prove me wrong.

For God to say, ‘No, not yet.’

Because I have spent today coming across former wisps of my past – lost friends, lost hearts. It feels like all I’ve done is wish all of them into existence, and so they come —

The friend who stayed awake with me during exam season, looking up exasperatedly from my laptop – a broken and whirring thing – and her notes, biting her tongue about my general incompetence with technology and my spectacular timing —

The friend with whom I spent so many nights emptying my own heart, and hers, like swapping organs across instant messaging boards under moonlight. We held each other’s secrets with such a guarantee of reckless abandon, it still frightens me to this day —

All I have done these last two days is think of them, and then they come to me, across all these years.

I came across a tweet about prayer and talking to God, and it strikes me that I have treated God with as much caution as I do the people in my own life who do and can care. Almost as if I am too proud to beg from God – to plead mercy and understanding and all the favours I do not yet deserve. I know God knows everything – everything – and so I say nothing, my tongue feeling prayer too sacred to utter, my heart too proud to admit defeat.

I know I don’t deserve this now, so not yet, not yet, but soon.

Because vulnerability is a luxury I cannot afford. Or perhaps I judge too poorly. I give it too quickly and too soon and too eagerly. I suffer poor judgment at the best of times, and I create this jigsaw of images too difficult to reconcile.

And as I sit with my friend, she of the quick coding and sharp mind, both of us nursing fruit juices in our hands, both of our faces clouded in the pains of growing up, my mind interjects with the words: I think I summoned you here.

Another selfish thought. I have many of those.

I have tried to deny myself selfishness, but it only comes out in torrents, this hurt self-absorption both piteous and trite.

God, make me better, make me this thing less hideous, make me kind.

I digress.

My point is simply this: I have forgotten how to pray. I see the world as darker, harder, and I wonder what happened to that young lady who told the elderly Italian man that she found the world so beautiful at times, so both left half in tears. I want to laugh at her foolishness, but I pity her, know her truths to be her own. If I could visit her in my past, I would tell her nothing of who she’d become.

I withhold from God many of my burdens, because I operate on the assumption of knowledge. God knows — surely God knows, and I am relieved from the challenge of telling God why I feel so disconsolate.

Yesterday, I came across this hadith qudsi – an old friend of an hadith:

“I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.”

So I began to tell God everything.

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