There are times when I go into the closet and shut the door and put my head to the floor and pray.
There are times when I sit in my office chair, praying and staring out the window across the rooftops of homes that used to never be there, thinking of the time I chased the four-wheelers out of that field because pheasants were nesting.
There are times I pray from behind the wheel of that generic red car I drive, the one that looks like all the others in the parking lot.
There are times when the sirens sound that I pray for the soul that is injured or in the midst of a heart attack, a stroke.
There are times I clasp my hands together and say a prayer of Thank You, God for this food with my grandson, who asks me to repeat it again, and again and again, because this idea of God and giving thanks evokes wonder from within him, so much so that now he says Amen instead of Thank you, instead of You’re Welcome. Tell him you love him and he says Amen and that seems like the more perfect answer to being loved. I love you. Amen.
There are times I stand before that giant mirror in my bathroom, the one that spans the entirety of the white wall like a two-way looking glass, and I cast my eyes to the upper-left-hand corner where I have taped that black-and-white thin-as-tissue image of Sawyer, the grandson whose birth has long been awaited, the baby so many of you have been praying for, and I pray, yet, again.
There are times I place my hand on my daughters’s bellies swollen and I pray for them and their babies yet unborn, and it is the most frightfully joyful prayer I utter. If you are a mother, a father, you understand how some prayers are wordless ones.
There are times I lay in my bed praying into my pillow for the daughter who longs to be loved the way her daddy loves her mama, tenderly and awestruck even after all these years. It is hard being the young woman these days, in a Wall-street world that maintains dime-store glitter is more desirable than a heart of gold. Pure hearts are so rare many have despaired of seeking them. I pray for the despairing, too.
There are times while scratching the underbelly of the dog I adopted that I pray for the son whose gift is so big it demands an open sky. Gifts can be fickle lovers, jealous when we give our attention to anything other, yet, they are never faithful to us alone.
There are times I pray as I turn the page to see the blood-splatters of the young girl murdered, and again, when I speak with those who remember things they pray to forget.
There are times when I glimpse a photo of my mother, my father, or the handwritten note from Flash or the Redhead, that I pray, grateful that I have been loved so well throughout my life.
There are countless times I have stood beside the bed of the sick and dying when I have prayed for healing, pray it still, because loss sears a person, leaves a soul charred. So I pray for the widows I love, too. Those Gold Star families and the veterans who served, serve us still. And I pray for that friend who welcomed her husband home from war but then lost him at Easter to a heart that stopped, inexplicably. The loneliness of a losing a soul mate, one never recovers from that. I pray God’s comfort to those.
There are times when the Canadian geese call from overhead, their old familiar hymn, that I am stirred to pray for birds and rivers and forests and flowers and sky and such. Creator God, he really knows how to put on a show.
But there is never a time when I think being thankful is a prayer that should be saved, stored up like war-time sugar, used only on a special holiday.
Thank you, Amen, is a daily prayer.
Karen Spears Zacharias is author of Mother of Rain (Mercer Univ. Press).