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.