There are times when praying requires more self-control
than I have in reserve.
Or even care to exercise.
And old habits rise to the surface.
I don’t know what it’s a sign of…
but it doesn’t look good.
Because when the sides starts closing in,
and pressures mount,
and my prayers go up but no blessings come down,
with no explanation for the lack thereof,
I want to scream.
Screaming is a sign I’m growing up, though,
believe it or not.
Because in my younger years
I would have cried,
and cried and cried—
not knowing what else to do
and feeling utterly helpless,
more like inept,
at a total loss,
with not even a clue of a remedy.
And I’d crawl off
to hide in a dark corner,
out of the world’s way
and far away from the ones causing my pain…
too gentle to return evil for evil,
too sensitive to see things clear,
too awkward and inexperienced to hope for better.
Over the years and with typical stumbles
in learning life lessons,
I grew bolder.
Then I’d get angry.
Say things I regretted.
Take my box of toys and walk away.
It wasn’t any better,
even though it felt good,
for a bit.
But at least I wasn’t crying.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Mid the process called growing up
I’ve learned to pray through the tears,
pray between the rants,
pray when nothing else works.
So now, praying is what I do.
Whatever the situation,
however simple or serious the problem.
But there are the days,
like this particular day,
I’d rather be screaming.
And throwing things,
or receding into my corner,
or giving up and walking away and quitting.
But then I’d just have to come back
and clean up the mess.
And I hate messes.
Like, I really hate messes.
Just ask my family.
And yelling at people makes a mess.
Just like calling him names
and treating her like scum
and hurling poison in place of mercy
creates a mess
that stains the hearts and minds
in those I love most,
the kind of mess
that isn’t easily gotten rid of.
And I know what it’s like to be treated that way.
So do I really want to be the cause of pain
in someone else’s life,
when it’s just a different kind of mess in another form?
And that’s one of the reasons I don’t do something stupid
when I don’t feel like doing right.
Like walking out
or yelling back.
Because in not doing right,
in not responding rightly,
I’d just have to show up the next day
and work ten times harder to make it right,
after having done things wrong.
But one thing I have learned
in all my growing up years,
is that it’s easier,
and not nearly as messy,
to do things right the first time,
at the right time,
even if it means keeping my mouth shut,
finding a quiet corner for a little while,
for praying like never before,
and trusting that He’s hearing,
even when He doesn’t respond.
Especially when I feel like screaming.
Because part of praying is knowing
the answer’s coming—
it will be coming,
even when circumstances appear otherwise,
when the monsters in my life
grow more heads
and breathe fire hotter and fiercer.
Because the answer has always come
when I’ve prayed in the past.
And God has always heard
even while standing in the shadows
and rewarding perseverance
And with that kind of confidence,
and that level of faith,
a few tears might still slip out
of these frail, human eyes,
and a heavy sigh will probably leak through,
but I won’t feel like screaming anymore.