God, thank you that I don’t need to be perfect to pray. You take me just as I am. No acting, no lying smiles, no need to say, “I’m fine, just fine, fine, fine, fine, thank you, Lord.”
You already know what's in the center of my thoughts even though I am unable to discern it. I think: “What is this feeling I have, Lord? Is it hope or fear because the two feel very similar to me right now. Why is that?”
You don’t answer that ‘why’ question. And I wonder: Why is that?
I know, I know, you won’t tell me why.
Instead, you ask me a different question by way of reply. I would discover later that when you ask me questions it does not mean you don’t know the answer already. It’s simply because you love me to talk to you, bring you my ideas, my thoughts, my dreams--so that you can tell me, “I put those dreams there and I will certainly finish what I started.”
“The fragrance of Jesus is hope,” you say. “So, if it smells like hope, it’s me.”
“But, I’m afraid, Lord.”
“I know. Put on my disguise, child. My love is the only way out.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Just wear grace around your neck.”
“I thought I was supposed to wear wisdom around my neck.”
“Is there a difference?”
“Oh. That’s right.”
“Now put it on.”
“You mean, really?”
“But, there’s nothing there.”
“Yes, there is.”
“I don’t see it.”
“Things exist without seeing, right?”
“Then, put it on.”
“How do you put anything on?”
“I reach out and, uh, put it on.”
“Then, do that.”
"You mean, really?"
"Yes, really reach out and really do it."
“But, don’t I need to say something?”
"The act of reaching is itself prayer."
"Yes, but, I feel like I should say something."
“Uh…a special prayer or something.”
“Please no! Pretend you’re a toddler, if you feel you must say something. Just drool and smile and maybe speak a little playful gibberish. Then, pretend you grab a macaroni necklace and put it on as if it’s made of diamonds. Then, pretend you’re a princess.”
“But, I’m a guy.”
“You can still pretend, can’t you? Don’t take yourself so seriously. Remember: come to me like a child. Can you do that?”
“I suppose so. I mean, I hope so. I hope it isn’t too late. I hope I haven’t gotten too set in my ways.”
“What was that you just said?”
“I said, ‘I hope—‘”
“Stop. That’s enough. That’s good, that’s good.”
“Yes, I suppose it is.”
“Of course it is.”