Pursuit and Prayer


PrayerPursuit

When we think of prayer, we think of heads bowed and hands clasped. We think of silence, we think of a sacred conversation. We think of religion. When we think of pursuit, we think of the chase, we think of a hunt for something elusive. We think of the pursuit of happiness.

What do they mean, though, on a singular day, in an ordinary life? What do we pray for and what do we pursue? Do those desires and needs stay steady throughout a life? Is there a difference in what we mention in prayer versus what we pursue in life? Do we approach them differently? Do you pray for things differently than the way you pursue other things? Does one mean passively asking for something compared to a measured mastery of something?

Lately, I have been talking a lot about my pursuit of certain goals, mentioned in a previous post. In the last month, though, I have also been praying for my dad’s health, as well as the health of other loved ones. It seems to be an interesting intersection, this point between pursuit and prayer.

Like many of my generation, I am facing the illness of a parent. I have asked for prayers and thoughts from friends. I think of health and think of a life lived. As we face the disease of a loved one, we consider their mortality and face our own.

In my own faith and spirituality, I find that I am less dogged in dogma than others. I am more open, less interested in the sharp lines of division among religions and more interested in the similarities. My faith does not come easy. I often doubt and I tend to argue and debate with the higher power I call God, rather than come to a peaceful prayer. For a long time I struggled with that, but now I realize that is my path and I feel blessed for the discussions I have, what others would call prayer.

I pray for health. I pray for my dad. I pursue my own health. I pray for relief of pain. I run into my own grief and pain. While my dad, the man I love to argue politics with, is in the hospital, I think to those memories of a father and daughter and I give up a prayer of thanks. I pray for lightness. I pray for love. I pursue lightness. I pursue love. I realize that those clichés are true. We have but one life. And most of the time, we have little but love.

We pray. We pursue. We stop. We cry. We hold hands. We laugh. We listen. We pursue normalcy on a day when nothing seems right. We say thanks for care. We feel love from others. We grasp our hands together. We hold each other close. We close our eyes. We remember. We look out at the moon. We take a deep breath. We love. We live. We pursue. We pray.

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6 comments

  1. Beautiful meditation, Kary. Your first paragraph makes me think that many times the very existence of language handicaps us, because by necessity it forces us into a continual stream of categorizing and pigeonholing as we try to make sense out of life. We define prayer so rigidly, as you suggest. I am guilty of doing that; but I have a suspicion that in God’s view, prayer is much more than we conceptualize it. Maybe there are even no clear boundaries between what constitutes prayer and what constitutes pursuit. Can looking at the moon not be a prayer, in a sense? I’ve always remembered a point made by Razi Zacharias: that worship isn’t a separate thing we do, but is, in fact, commensurate with all of life.

    I know what it is to face health challenges and to have to deal with the failing health of a parent, and speaking of prayer, mine will be with you and your dad. Meanwhile, yes, we go on through each day. I think your last paragraph about says it all. 🙂

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