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Location: Midwest, United States

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Amazing Woman breathed her last at summer’s end two years ago.  Cancer had savaged her most cruelly, so much so that her body had no choice but to raise the white flag and surrender the ghost.

Two years and one week later, I received an e-mail from a friend with whom I had had a relationship of sorts.  The relationship was a modest affair, but it lasted long enough for me to know my friend was a woman of consequence, of talent, spirit and good will.   She wrote to tell me she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.  She had already endured surgery and multiple rounds of chemotherapy.  She was about to start a course of radiation therapy.  She was battling for her life.

From the moment I received her note, I’ve been praying daily.  These acts of prayer brought with them this contemplation regarding prayer itself. 

I was raised a Catholic.  A true believer I was, as a young boy.  I mouthed my daily prayers religiously.  I recited the Rosary countless times, repeating the Our Father and Hail Mary so often the words are forever imprinted within me.  I was told this constituted "prayer" and that it was necessary, imperative even, to repeat these words over and over, for ever and ever, to safeguard my soul and those of others.

As I progressed in age and disbelief, I gave up praying as I had been taught.  I no longer believed that mouthing words directed towards ears that only existed as matters of faith mattered. 

I gave up praying as it was once defined for me, but I continued praying after a fashion.  As I’ve grown older, I’ve taken to praying more often and more fervently.  But what is it that I’m doing?

Neither words nor a specific deity are involved. 

I find myself overcome often with emotion.  The emotions vary.  More often than not, I find myself hopefully yearning.  But my prayers can be grounded in caring, loving, empathy or sympathy, too.  In any case, the emotion is the prayer.  The emotion is for souls outside my own.  The belief is that somehow, someway, these feelings can traverse time and space (improbable as that may seem) to reach the intended audience (a loved one).  

The mission of the prayer is to bring comfort and strength.  May it be a karma rocket unerring in its trajectory and target vectors.

I consider myself a rational being.  I studied science because I marvel how the cosmos behaves in accordance with the principles of physics, chemistry and biology.  Even so, I’ve experienced the numinous and stubbornly cling to the notion that emotions flung to the heavens can somehow matter.
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Blogger erin said...

love and attention: these things in and of themselves are prayer. what else might we be here for inside this ecstatic journey, whether placed inside the journey, or happening into it by accident? might your prayers alter the outcome? perhaps yes and perhaps no, but they alter the sense of being for all of us along the way. love and love and love to your friend. and to you too, jonas)))


Tue Oct 22, 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Indeed. I agree that love and attention constitute prayer. Nowadays I find myself praying for the power of prayer.

Thank you, Erin.

Tue Oct 22, 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger lily cedar said...

Jonas, the friend with cancer, is that who I think it is? I can't remember her name but I do remember she was a lovely woman. I'm so sorry.

Prayer works. I'm not so sure about all the rest of it but I do believe in prayer.

It's Deb, now writing as Lily. I know, it's a pain in the ass trying to keep track. My apologies.

Wed Oct 23, 06:57:00 AM  
Blogger Wine and Words said...

I'm sorry to hear about your friend Jonas. I suppose I am in a crisis of prayer presently. I had written a poem about repetitive prayer, and how it hung like wallpaper...surrounding me but also becoming unseen. I suppose now I do that hopeful yearning thing, while not being sure the words at all make a difference to outcome. I still petition God once, and release the request. Spoken. Heard. I guess I'm not really sure what happens after that.

I hope you are well!

Sun Nov 03, 10:33:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Oh, Erin, how I'd like to believe my prayers might alter outcomes! Indeed, I'd like to believe. I'd like to believe my prayers are consequential. I'd like to believe my fervent prayers might serve some purpose.

Fri Nov 08, 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Yes, Deb, I kinda figgered it all out already (though I'm kinda perpetually perplexed).

I'm guessing you're thinking 'bout "Sunny" but she's fine. This post is not about her. Sunny and I have stayed in touch. Last we talked, she's happily planting wildflowers on her farm.

Fri Nov 08, 10:26:00 PM  
Blogger Bella said...

We never know what is going to be handed to us to deal with. There is great power and healing in prayer!

Thu Dec 19, 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger Bella said...

okay Jonas, don't you think its about time time to got your Blojo back?

Sat May 24, 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Yes, indeed, Bella, I've been too quiet and isolated for too long. I needs me my Blojo! I'm thinking I'll be back to writing soon enough. I've had lots on my mind.

Sun May 25, 07:35:00 PM  

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