My husband Mike, the propane mr-fix-it guy, goes into people’s homes to fix appliances. Over the years he has grown fond of many customers he sees regularly, not only for fix-its, but for the annual maintenance service Sunshine Propane offers its customers. He has seen customers go through the usual life changing events we all experience – illnesses, travels, deaths of spouses and partners, retirements, job changes, kids growing up, grandkids being born. So it was not unusual when at the home of a couple in the midst of a crisis, a distressed wife began telling him of her husband being taken to the hospital in an ambulance the night before for an apparent heart attack. Mike listened sympathetically, then said, “I will pray for him.” She responded, “are you Jewish?”, to which Mike answered, “I’m Hindu” (not sure why he gave that answer, except our particular spiritual path draws from the teachings of the Christian Bible and the Hindu Bhagavad Gita). She said, “Well, I guess that’s good too. We have Catholics, Presbyterians, and Methodists praying but no Jewish people.”
This story has been a sweet favorite of ours since it happened, several years ago. In her despair, she wanted to make sure all bases were covered, (no doubt not thinking of Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, and the multitude of other religions and spiritual traditions she may not have been familiar with.) It was ok with her if her husband received Hindu prayers! Of course one’s particular church, religion, or spiritual beliefs are not what’s important, what is important is the positive focus, with intention, asking for healing and the best outcome for the one being prayed for.
Recently I wrote in an email to friends, many of whom are not ‘religious’ but want to offer support, “some of you don’t ‘pray’ per se……for those of us who have a relationship with God, Great Spirit, Divine Mother….praying ‘to’ whatever divine manifestation we attune with connects us to a greater power. But positive affirmations tossed to the wind, the sun, the ocean, a tree, a totem animal…..wherever you feel a connection, is fabulous! Works for me!”.
As I count down the days until I have a mastectomy, I, like the woman in the story, want to cover all the bases! Tonight, while talking about support from others, Mike, who is feeling the spousal worry and concern of his customer, said “but is there anyone Jewish praying for you?”. We both laughed. A lighter moment shared. During my ‘good moments’ I feel, and greatly appreciate, the blessings and love that come from various people and places as I face this life changing surgery and the unknown that lays beyond it. During my ‘bad moments’, I feel scared, alone, and experience the stages of grief one goes through when losing part of their body and facing a potentially life ending challenge. A myriad of doctor appointments, tests, biopsies, etc. have pulled me out of my “home” environment and into the city, clinics, and hospitals. When home I’ve been too tired, achy and ill to do much except pick away at the paper work and tasks involved in wrapping up my mother’s life (an interesting expression, but that’s for another post!).
Yesterday, we took a deliciously long walk along the Dosewallips River in a gray drizzle, watching the rushing water as it lapped along the river banks, inches from flood stage. I felt “at home” for the first time in weeks, maybe months. In a large puddle I noticed a reflection of curved light and looking up saw a faint, but distinctive rainbow. A moment later our heads turned from the fading rainbow as the screech of an eagle flying over caught our attention. Walking to a stream next to the river, we unintentionally disturbed a Great Blue Heron hunting in the rushes. In the dim light of a late November day, skies gray with cloud cover, the only colors muted tones of dull winter greens and shades of brown, we stood a long time as the drizzle became a light rain and watched American Dippers splash and bop in the cold water. It was such a comfort. I slept better last night than I had in weeks. Thank you Mother Nature for your prayer. And thank you readers, friends, for any prayers you feel inclined to offer on my behalf….of any faith, to any Divine Being…..or to the wind and the rushing river.