March 22nd, 2011

sting, gaga, happy

(no subject)

 Just finished listening to "God is not Great" by Christopher Hitchens. Very, very interesting and enlightening book, at least to me. It's brought up a point that i wish i had the balls to say in other forums (i'm looking at you, facebook).

Why do people in general feel the need to tell people who are bereaved or who are going through a hard time or maybe need an extra push that prayers are being offered on their behalf? If the prayers were effective, wouldn't the person in need no longer be in need? Moreover, if, as is customary in the mormon church, the prayer offered is for 'not my will, but god's be done', why pray at all? Would petitioning their god assist in any way if you put that kind of disclaimer on that? Isn't that a little haughty of the 'meek' to think that saying these words will catch the ear of the creator and the path will be different? 

I have a coworker who is a dear man who has been through quite a lot. His wife lost a battle with cancer less than a year ago and he has found great comfort in the religious practices they shared. I don't begrudge him this at all, but when he comes over with his kindly eyes to say that he's lit a candle and offered a prayer on my sister's behalf, and i'm supposed to say 'thank you'....? 

I understand it's an easy statement to make when there's not much that can be said. Psychologically though, if a friend who you believe is more in contact with god were to say "I'm praying for you" should that influence your outcome? what happens if someone who you know has had a hard time following the letter of their religion, and thusly might not be in favor with their god, who says "i'm praying for you".. does that prayer count less in your mind? what of your god's? 

My sister says she felt a lot of the prayers during her ordeal - she also had a lot of people offering their verbal support who showed up. it was only after the first initial few days that she found that comfort gone, and assumed people stopped praying for her. Of course, this was renewed a week and a half later at the funeral, when they were "blessed" to hear the stake president (one level higher than the bishop) speak at her son's funeral unexpectedly. His comments? Mostly about how he's jealous of bishops - bishops get to know the congregation, where if this guy goes to the supermarket, other people recognize him, but he doesn't know who the people are. Regardless, this man was higher up in the hierarchy of the church, so they felt extra-blessed that he took time out to come to the funeral and offer a prayer. ("wasn't that wonderful?" i heard family members comment afterwards.)

My mom's side of the family spams on a facebook group constantly. There's been a lot of loss, and medical issues - just in the last 3 weeks, one of my cousin's kid's came down with a low-whitecount blood disorder, we lost a great-aunt in the family, another aunt's nephews had to have major brain surgery, and now a different aunt is 35 weeks along and in the hospital expecting twins. 

My blackberry lights up constantly with comments on these facebook posts. "i'm praying for you" from my mother, from my aunts, "offering prayers for you! hugs!" it's everything i can do to mash down what i want to scream - (not unlike the last blow up my parents and i had) "Do something! Show up! Be there!" 
Ok, back to work. just had to get that out.