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GOD… Shmod…

I’m sorry if my words and irreverence are hurtful or disdainful to you.

I don’t want my blog posts to cause anyone pain … truthful (from my perspective) but not painful.

As a child, I was taught to kneel next to my bed, hands pressed together beneath my little chin, and pray to God…

And now I lay me down to sleep…

… before climbing under the covers for the night.

For the next hour, I’d anxiously lie there, blankets pulled up over my nose, hoping that no Where The Wild Things Are monster would crawl out from under the bed or burst through the doorway and cut me into pieces and eat me.

I was an anxious child. I had my own Calvin and Hobbes world.

Sleep would eventually descend over me like a drifting parachute and I was safe from the imaginary devils inside my head for another day.

Whew! Prayer answered.

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Happily, I made it through the omnipresent – artificial – dangers and survived into adulthood where the only – real – monsters that exist show up on CNN routinely.

I’ve told you before that I’m not a believer in an omnipotent deity… male, female or any other non-binary choice.

It’s not a big deal and I don’t want to write evangelically atheistic rants like Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins.

I respect the desire and need for religion…the salve of poverty, war, disease, ¬†interpersonal hell… I wish it wasn’t necessary, but I understand its basis and the comfort it gives to millions.

I don’t want to judge others and their beliefs just as I don’t need or want someone hovering overhead judging me… we all have reasons for our weaknesses and faults. I judge myself pretty harshly and that’s all I can handle.

If I was a devout believer I’d probably be a better person.

I’d probably be more like Lauraine the head lady that I work with when I volunteer to chop and slice and dishwash at the Penticton soup kitchen.

Lauraine is a pious Catholic with a lively sense of humour and a Mother Teresa-like aura of warmth. She treats every person with dignity and respect and sees the inner good that so often doesn’t show on the outside of troubled people, which is everyone.

Lauraine knows I’m a non-believer but if I ever have a difficulty in any area of my life she assures me that she’ll pray for me or my loved ones. And even though I don’t believe it will have any direct impact, I feel good inside knowing that she’s sending some positive vibes.

I don’t believe in a God, but I do believe in the power of individuals to make a god-like difference for those in their circle of influence.¬†Lauraine is real and affects my world.

Also, my inspiration doesn’t flow through the Bible, the Sutra, the Vedas, the Quran or the Torah, though each carries a wealth of wisdom.

Wisdom and understanding is cached away in a multitude of places other than religious texts. Hopefully wisdom informs beliefs.

Sometimes we come to believe in something as an accepted fact even though there’s no rational or sensible underpinning to that belief.

I was reminded of this natural human tendency when I saw a replay of perhaps my most favourite segment of television ever, of course written by one of my very favourite screenwriters, Aaron Sorkin, in the HBO series The Newsroom.

It’s a Shakespeare-style soliloquy spoken by a fictional TV news anchorman (Will McAvoy aka Jeff Daniels) during a university debate.

A young female sophomore student asks a seemingly simple question that everyone in the room takes for granted has an obvious underlying truth.

 

There’s a humungous lump in my throat right now.

Now you might ask where am I going with this whole ramble about prayer and I guess the answer is a simple… I’m not sure.

McAvoy’s monologue is filled with observable facts that would have us examine our belief in the “apparently obvious”. My biases align with his rant. His words are my prayer.

Powerful words delivered with eloquence.

I get it. Prayer is powerful. Prayer makes us weak and strong at the same time.

I love the sense of reverence and historic wonder I feel when I stand or sit in a church, a cathedral, a synagogue, a temple, a mosque.

I love the sound of the archaic words, thou and whence and messiah, and the swell of pipe-organ music reverberating off high arched ceilings.

So, even though I miss the halcyon days of kneeling next to my bed and talking to something or someone greater than my tiny mortal being, I can’t truly recapture those moments of prayer with the same innocence and sense of awe.

The only prayer that exists for me now is the active voice in my head that observes and confers and sifts and debates like crazy.

It’s the godless prayer of observation and wonder, confusion and fear, respect and admiration, love and desire, hope and optimism.

If I should die before I wake… well, I guess the monster under my bed finally got me.

Monster under bed