I’ve had a lot of insignificant personal conflict in my mind lately. Just stuff that keeps me awake at night as I sit in bed and wonder how I’ll handle these little dramas that have popped up. Nothing major, just personal dilemmas keeping me awake as I struggle for solutions. They don’t bother me during the day, I’m too busy to worry about the inconsequential. But at night, in bed, when it’s quiet and I’m trying to fall asleep – these challenges really bother me. How do I fix it? How do I make it work? How do it resolve this so it doesn’t make me so sad when the lights go out?
Last night I found myself missing Prayer. I am not religious, I don’t believe in any version of a god that any Christian church defines. But I used to. I used to be very religious. I used to say the rosary and go to church and Pray. I prayed constantly. The peace that someone would be there for me, help me through the gray days, that was so comforting. I remember I would ask god for strength at least once a day. That was my token prayer. “Please, God. Give me strength to make it through this drama in my life.” And while I know that on paper none of my teenage dramas were really that tragic, I remember the depression and the sadness and the anxiety associated with those dramas. THAT was real. I remember that comfort Prayer gave me. Sometimes I think that refuge, the Prayer with my God at that time, saved my life.
I stopped believing a long time ago. I know I’ll never have church back in my life for reasons I don’t have the time or the words to explain. I don’t miss church. I don’t miss religion. I don’t miss the guilt or the dogmas or anything associated with that point in my life.
But I miss prayer. I miss just being able to talk to someone about what was bothering me. Someone who I didn’t worry about judging me (Hee. That’s funny.) or thinking me a bad person. Someone who would just listen and give me comfort in knowing I was not alone. I tried to pray last night, just to see if I could without the belief in the person on the other end of the line. No dice. So, I just struggled again with unheard conversations in my mind.
I know religious people and I have church-going friends and family who have said they don’t pray and I always find this jolting. Really? Isn’t that the best part of church is being able to pray? Maybe I used prayer differently than the average religious person, but to me? Prayer was what held me to the church even as long as I stayed. I probably actually stopped believing 15 years ago, or more, but I tried different faiths and different churches for 5 years or so after that. Because I couldn’t give up praying. But somewhere along the way, the prayers went the way of every other part of my religious past. Faded into nonexistence.
But I tried again last night, just to see how it felt. It felt wrong and weird and really made me giggle a little out loud. Really, Kim? You’re praying? YOU? I don’t think so.
So, I just keep trucking along the usual way. Working things out in my head until I finally get some peace. It’s not as romantic as prayer, but it works. Sometimes.
I know a lot of us have bonded over past religious lives and find ourselves in similar agnostic positions as adults. What parts of it do you miss?