“Okay” Can Be a Comforting Prayer

BPyUYW1CIAA-IFqIn part of a passage I posted the other day by Anne Lamott she said that


is one of the four great prayers.

o TN_handsigns_O

I wonder what the other three are?

I’d bet they are one worded – perhaps thanks. Amen would be kind of obvious. What about yes? or Hallelujah, or yipee or yahoo or agreed? That’s what amen means in terms of word roots I think. I’m fairly sure it just means “Yup, I think the same thing as you my old pal God the greatest.”

About a month ago my prayers were not close to being quite that amiable. “Greatest” is still not the first thing that pops in mind with how I am feeling about the heavenly host, but I’m starting to ease up on my internal sky rant which started out pretty much like this:

Are you *%@+&ing kidding me? What happened to that giant life plan that you and I mapped out and you were so generously CLEAR with your instructions about what you want me to do with my life? The hints you left were not random on this one. It wasn’t like the time I thought I could somehow make a career out of folding origami cranes and little paper frogs. That wasn’t very practical was it now? Did I try to figure out if that’s what you want. Well YES SIREE I did! I prayed, I journaled. I reflected. I went to mass and made the sons come along as well. I even started reading Anne Lamott books. I may not have gotten to my goal of making a thousand paper cranes, but I got good at that craft and hosted a couple of really fun workshops for kids and showed those little kidlets a good time. Did I whine and moan when I figured out that the want ads had nothing that said: “intensely reflective and fairly forgetful paper folder wanted to fold cute little animals out of beautiful asian paper squares” ? NO MA’AM! I kept on truckin’ and started out working on Masters degree #2 because the first one was not in big demand in the countryside where we were living. Was I bummed when it stopped working out for me to continue in that program. Well sure. It was really interesting and the career demand was going to be huge. And did I stop trying to figure out what you want? Hell’s bells no I didn’t. I dug up all of the Thomas Merton books that we own and got friendly with him again. And I found another hobby as instructed and spent hours and hours building that outdoor porch train track. Giving up that corner of our house that became my little prayer space was pretty damn hard to leave, but I did, DID I NOT? Our buddy Merton says keep reflecting not matter where and no matter what so when I discovered how ridiculously large the Mississippi river is compared to my serene corner on the great Ohio, THAT’S WHAT I DID DUDE! REFLECT, REFLECT, REFLECTED MY *#%…..

There’s more, but I’ll spare you the details. Consider that a prelude.handsigns_K

By the way, I know that I used both “he” and “she” words for God. I’m one of those people who feel like God is so big that gender kind of limits the whole point of divinity. And I get irked at continued references that imply that our collective imagination stopped at the image of a white guy with a big old beard being in charge of the universe. That’s kind of boring I think. And none of my grandfather’s look like that anyway. One was a motorcycle cop and the other a journalist with big thick eye glasses.


My dear friend sent me a beautiful gift after I called her to tell her what was upsetting me so greatly. Wait, no, She is the one that had called me first. I had sent a rapid fire set of text messages saying “ahhhhhhhhh” and “eeeeeeeeeeeeek” and “yowwwwwwwwww”! She knows me well and called and said “I’m calling to talk about the weather and want to know what you are making me for dinner.” So we had a great and funny conversation that was mostly a “not talking talk” about what I was upset about, but at the same time she got a basic run down on the scene.

Shortly after, a gift that she had promised came in the mail. I wasn’t expecting it quite so soon! The card that she sent with it had a cute front that talked about how God’s world is full of all that is good. On the inside though, the little bear was shaking her hands at the sky and saying “give me a *xyz#%ing break!”

So all of this to say is this….

yeah. I agree with Anne.

It took me a month or so, but the best prayer I can burp out at this point is “okay.”

And once I said okay, my load started to lighten. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still angry, but this particular situation is not one that I can afford to pout about for very long.

Some new realities have fallen into my lap that are complicating my plans to get through this Sign Language interpreting certification program, but thus far there is no reason to do anything other than continue to enjoy and get as far as I can in the courses.If some fine tuning needs to happen, then so be it – I’ll deal with it when that time comes.

I’ll say this though – and again, I won’t bore you with the details, but adjusting this quickly from a “BLEEP YOU” cosmic conversation to a kicking my shoe in the dirt and mumbling “okay” prayer stance is completely unheard of for me…pun intended. I hold grudges like a toddler who is unwilling to release a blanket during nap time.

And. I have fallen in love with my studies about a language and culture that surrounds and protects the lives of those who have less than perfect hearing. Somehow, some way though, I didn’t wait even a day this time before sounding the alarm bells to get help and comfort when I had a wrench thrown into my plans. I scattered out a few “hey friends, I’m freaking out” messages and predictably there were those that said “huh?” and those that said “got your back girl. Bring it on. You’ve got this thing. Don’t stop now.”

And the best part? Some of these people are new friends. I survived the three-year mark of relocation and am meeting and entrusting some really, really great people in my new world. I’m encountering people who are flies in my soup too…but I don’t care. This is not my first trip on the pumpkin wagon and I know to be careful to trust only those who gain my confidence. I hope that I have the sense to pay that back.

I don’t know that I need to read up on what the other three prayers are that Anne Lamott mentions. Saying “okay God” is comfort enough for now….gotta start somewhere.

(The top photo is mine and is morning sun on the Mississippi River which is now a favorite water way, second only to the Ohio.)

St. Anthony Prayer for Grace when life becomes quite noisy

Prayer for Help from the Holy Spirit

O God, send forth your Holy Spirit into my heart that I may perceive,

into my mind that I may remember,


and into my soul that I may meditate. Inspire me to speak with piety, holiness,

tenderness and mercy.

Teach, guide and

direct my thoughts and senses from beginning to end.

May your grace ever help and correct me,

and may I be strengthened now with wisdom from on high, for the sake of your infinite mercy.     Amen.

~Saint Anthony of Padua

Isn’t that a lovely prayer? I found it just now while looking for another that a friend has been using to pray for me. I sent a text to her last week saying something to the effect of:

“having 87a*^& difficult time transition men all back to school. no sleep. bloody internet down again. pray asap plz.”

Her reply was something to the effect of:

“On our way to family conference. Issuing Deliverance Prayer immediately and will continue to take all to Jesus.”

This particular best friend of mine was raised by a huge Irish Catholic family on the capes in New Jersey, and continues to worship in a similar traditional Irish fashion.

Selfishly, this reality has many benefits for me.

My mom was also raised in a large Irish Catholic family, but in the Bronx. This makes my brother and I fourth generation straight off the boats of County Cork – I did the research and it’s true! I even found immigration papers. Every single one of our great-grandparents  came from County Cork,  (“counties” in Ireland are like “states” here in the U.S.) by way of a village named Mill Street.

The friend that I sent a text plea to continues to help describe to me how my mother was raised. By way of these memorized prayers and traditional Catholic rituals I can know much about corners of my family world that my mother, by necessity, had to set clear boundaries against when leaving the east coast to join my father.

My friend and I met while doing graduate work toward a degree in Pastoral Ministry at the University Dayton and it was one of those best friends in five minutes type of gifts that one gets only a few times in a life time. By hook or crook we’ve maintained this friendship for well over twenty years now, if not in conversation and visits, by way of prayer amidst our busy and increasingly complicated lives as moms and spouses.


Since I rarely ask for help like in that text, particularly for specific prayer, she knew, I’m guessing, that I really meant that I was too pooped to pray.

Asking this gal pal to take a knee is a bit like asking that fellow Bolt to run to the store for milk – it happens fast, furious and with more focus than my hard wire would ever hope to achieve without distraction.

And, it worked.

The clogs of stress about the first week of school for my men seem to be starting to give way for now.

And, oddly enough, last night I switched a plug and suddenly the computer and internet are working, saving us anywhere from a range of $100 to $800 to keep me on the grid.

This is good.

Grand as a matter of fact.

How do you like the photo of my low alto voice being formed in utero while my brother listens to, I’d say, Ella Fitzgerald or The Weavers?