Unanswered Prayers and Unimaginable Blessings

Glasgow Cathedral 2015 Photo Credit: Jim “Jimbo” Murray

Being raised Catholic, there has been an almost instinctive and intuitive (some would say brainwashed, conditioned, etc.) need to pray. Pray before eating, pray before going to bed, pray upon waking and pray for courage, guidance, more faith, more patience, more grace and sometimes, more money, more love, bigger/smaller body parts and pieces, better job, better boss, better co-workers, better family. Pray for a prince to sweep you off your feet, Officer and a Gentleman-style, pray for fame, pray for health, pray for others (not really getting into what the prayer itself is because being human means you can make even prayer into a weapon of destruction, mass or otherwise).

You get the idea. Lots of prayers, lots of words that had tattooed themselves upon my psyche from the time I was in the womb, going to mass at St. Philomene with the siblings and parents I had yet to meet. They were a lullaby, a comforting, familiar cadence of inflection and emotion.

Much later in life, praying still but with the eyes of a somewhat jaded young adult, I came across a song from Garth Brooks during a time when all I did was pray and not always for the “right” reason or outcome. This was a time of many Firsts for me. First time being married, first time moving out of state, away from everything I’d known my entire life and stepping into the shoes of an USAF (United States Air Force) dependent in a place that is as humid and warm and muggy as you could never imagine if you were from California.

Sidewalks don’t steam when it rains in California, OK? It’s raining in California, you are going to want a coat or at the very least a really warm windbreaker. Putting on a t-shirt in a rainstorm in Mississippi is like wearing a shirt made of Saran Wrap/Cling Wrap or something equally stifling and unnecessary.

THE RAIN IS WARM!!! What the ever-loving, fresh-from-the-oven craziness is this?!

I digress. First time being a mom, first time being diagnosed as Bipolar, first time drinking a bottle of wine a night for some amount of time that I cannot now recall and months of intensive soul-searching, endless rivers of doubt, feelings of inadequacy and a strangely seductive darkness that beckoned to me. Throw a little temptation, forbidden fruit and massive issues with authority and viola! We have the whirling dervish of a shit-storm that was the life I had in the Deep South. (Talk about a praying place!)

So this song by Garth Brooks is called Unanswered Prayers and it’s all about Garth and all those prayers he prayed that God apparently didn’t deem worthy of granting and how he finally understands why they weren’t.

Just the other night at a hometown football game
My wife and I ran into my old high school flame
And as I introduced them the past came back to me
And I couldn’t help but think of the way things used to be

She was the one that I’d wanted for all times
And each night I’d spend prayin’ that God would make her mine
And if he’d only grant me this wish I wished back then
I’d never ask for anything again

Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers

She wasn’t quite the angel that I remembered in my dreams
And I could tell that time had changed me
In her eyes too it seemed
We tried to talk about the old days
There wasn’t much we could recall
I guess the Lord knows what he’s doin’ after all

And as she walked away and I looked at my wife
And then and there I thanked the good Lord
For the gifts in my life

Well, let me just share that I prayed a metric ton of prayers and some were answered in the way I wanted them to be while others flat out did not get the go-ahead by the Big Guy.

I wouldn’t want to think about where I would be today if those prayers were answered because I am so much more than I ever believed I could be in those days. I am who I am today because of what I went through back then.

As it turns out there was no Soul Mate, no Knight in Shining Armor, no Officer and a Gentleman moment at work. It was a bunch of really insanely loving, understanding, compassionate, complicated and messy, full of faults and graces, beautiful souls who held me up when I wanted to dive into the abyss; carried me when my legs couldn’t bear the weight of my heavy heart and loved me when I couldn’t love myself.

They are the angels I prayed for, the courage to continue and the reason why I now thank God for not answering those prayers. What I’ve been given, what I have gathered to me and now hold tightly with gratitude and love is worth much more than I could have ever thought to pray for, much less deserve.

I often prayed in the worst times for God to take me Home and let me just be at peace, but I realize now what a tragedy that would have been. I believe that we choose the life we live, the lessons we need/wish to learn and the souls we want to see again and have another opportunity to make things right.

I have met many people in this lifetime that I feel as though I’ve known forever and will always be connected to them and will continue to seek them out to finish our work together and only then will my soul be at peace.

“A soulmate is an ongoing connection with another individual that the soul picks up again in various times and places over lifetimes. We are attracted to another person at a soul level not because that person is our unique complement, but because by being with that individual, we are somehow provided with an impetus to become whole ourselves.” 
— Edgar Cayce

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