She Said by Collective Soul is my new “blog” song. You can listen to it by clicking on it — or just ignore it. This song speaks to where I am in my life. Maybe some of you can relate; maybe others can’t. I know this: it’s time to bring the music back into my life again.
I’ve been talking a lot lately about the latest unexpected turn in my life story. It’s healing to tell our story, especially when it involves grief. It’s how we process the unthinkable and integrate it into our life. We make the unthinkable at least somewhat acceptable.
The first morning we wake up after a tragedy, the experience washes over us like a tsunami. Waking up hurts. It continues to hurt for however long it takes to heal, which always takes longer than we think it should, and it takes four times as long as other people think it should.
“Aren’t you over that yet?” people say, verbalizing what we ask ourselves.
While those closest to us tire of hearing our story — and who can blame them — we don’t tire of telling it. Hi. My name is _____________ and _______________ just happened to me.
The first words out of our mouth describe the incident that’s turning us into a new person, someone we didn’t want to become – didn’t choose to be. But as annoying as it can be to the people who hear us talking about it day after day, we still can’t stop ourselves from telling our story to please them.
The time comes, though, when we can take our communication a step further.
“I believe in God,” I told a friend. “I know God’s real. That just makes it worse, because I know how powerful God is.”
To another friend I said, “I don’t know what to say to God. I’m at a loss for words.”
Just the awareness that I’d fallen away from prayer ignited a change. I realized I’d been talking sometimes to the right people, sometimes to anyone who would listen, and sometimes to the wrong people – the ones who had snide remarks as a reply — but I hadn’t been talking to my Higher Power, God as I understand God.
I’d walk by the temple in the middle of my home, briefly acknowledge its presence, then keep on walking and keep on talking – to everyone but God. My indifference to the temple symbolized the indifference I felt toward God.
With this awareness that I hadn’t been communicating with my Higher Power, I found myself organically, without much effort, making prayer a priority again.
Why do I forget to do that which will help the most? Why do I systematically ignore those simple acts, behaviors that take so little time, that have such enormous payoff? I do it over and over again.
Over the past years, I’ve learned that my day goes better if I start it with a good breakfast. I’ve also learned that my day goes better if I begin it with prayer. I have the greatest respect for all religions and spiritual paths. Agnostics and atheists can believe what they will, but I know what’s true for me: prayer works.
Even if I just say, “I’m at a loss for words, God,” or recite a pre-written prayer, paying attention to the meaning of each phrase, it helps.
Prayer changes things. It changes me.
When I go through a loss, what I miss most is that sense of being led by my Higher Power. The easiest way to get back that sense of guidance is to ask for it, and ask for it by going directly to the Source.
At a loss for words? Sometimes, “Help” is all we need to say. How hard is that? When it comes to prayer, a little bit goes a long way.
From the desk of Melody Beattie
Originally posted October 9, 2011
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