After the Our Father, when it’s time for me to pray in church, I really just kneel and wish for shit (Petition). It’s not an abstract yearning, like I do in regular life, but an articulation of actual wishes, as if I were in a fairy tale — I’m the fisherman who’s caught the magical golden fish in his net.
I think, subconsciously, that there’s always a catch with wishes. I wonder if I have worded my wishes correctly. I think of the wishes as bargains, and wonder what price I would have to pay if any of my wishes were granted, and I wonder if they are really worth that price. I realize that my prayers (wishes) are self-serving and that God, if She did exist (which I then pause to doubt), would not approve.
So then I contritely think about all the bad stuff I’ve done in the last week that I regret. I struggle to think of anything so bad it’s worth God’s notice, and then I sort of universally apologize for things like getting mad at other drivers and being impatient and hurt when my son answers me in monosyllables and for saying the F-word when I didn’t get a job I’d hoped I’d get (Expiation).
I think that despite all the bad shit, I am happy about my son and daughter, even though they’re adolescents, which is a challenge. I start thanking God for them, and then I remember I did most of the work (Thanksgiving).
I think that even if Christ hadn’t died for our sins, or if He hadn’t actually risen from the dead (and I stop to wonder why this is necessary), then, regardless, He was a really cool person (Adoration). Then, taking Him as an example, I dutifully wish for some good shit for other people, or I think with empathy about those who are troubled or sick or dead, trying to send them good vibes, or I wish that I could be a better mother to my children (still Petition, with an effort at Charity and Love).
Then I think I would indeed be a better mother if some of my original wishes — I mean prayers — were granted. Because I would be happier, more fulfilled, less poor and frantic and bitchy and embattled by horrors like Customer Service and my ex-husband (Resentment).
And then, as long as I’m going there, I pray for some bad shit to happen to all the people who’ve disrespected me, in whatsoever way, so that my circumstances would seem better in comparison or just because I want to indulge in some Schadenfreude, and why not? I think of Sodom and Gomorrah and Jonah (Vengefulness). Then I reel myself back in again and remember that “God” wouldn’t approve (or would She?) (Contrition), and so I end by wishing for world peace for all those assholes out there, world without end, Amen.
Wishing misfortune to occur to one’s enemies should move to the top of your prayer list. You got it at the bottom. Here’s to the buttholes in our lives: may they bleed out their asses on Christmas Day . . .