They say, if you want to make God laugh, just tell her your plans. It seems God (or the universe, if you prefer) has an insatiable sense of humor. And a wry one at that.
Last week I wrote about patience as my word for the 2015. And then school was cancelled for the next two days. Our dog Jobe tore his ACL. Work projects piled up. I chanted patience-breathe-be-gentle, while I ate my weight in cookie dough and screamed into my hands in the bathroom.
I also had plans of jumping back into a regular writing schedule this month. Writing is what helps me think and figure things out, and I was eager to get a bunch of half-baked ideas onto paper. The stories are there; they just need a little time to cook on the page. But whenever I sat down to write, the only words that came were in the form of questions, doughy stories, and more questions. This or that…? What about…? What if…? How…? When…?
Part of my go-getter plans to jump start my writing routine included a two-week online writers’ group. Each morning we are given a prompt and asked to free write for 10 minutes. Set the timer and go. No editing, no over-thinking. Just pen to paper. Or, in my case, fingers to keyboard. Much of what I have churned out of the past 10 days has been crap, and this morning was no different. But something about today’s prompt – prayer – made me think about all of this cosmic irony in a slightly different context.
If you know me, or you read Open Boxes, you know that I used to have uneasy and tenuous relationship with prayer. What is prayer? How do I do it? Does it work? Now, though, prayer takes a slightly different shape. Prayer looks more like a poem or a song, to me, a lot like love and grace. Prayer seems to be more about asking questions than getting answers. There isn’t a “right” kind of prayer because prayer can’t be done wrong.
So maybe my questions don’t need answers? Maybe the questions themselves – the what if’s and the why’s and the how’s and the when’s – are little prayers? Maybe they aren’t roadblocks to get around, but building blocks that are part of the solution? And maybe my plans don’t aren’t making God laugh, but giggle in delight?
I don’t know. Maybe this is just my way of dealing with a touch of writer’s block. Maybe it’s my way of avoiding the ever-present questions, challenges, and uncertainties of Life. Maybe it’s my way of taking the easy way out. Or maybe it’s the product of too much navel-gazing as we writers are wont to do.
Like I said, I don’t know. And right now that seems as good an answer as any. I don’t know seems like the only honest answer, the only true one.
And who knows? At a minimum, I don’t know might be good for a few cosmic, holy laughs.