I have a treasured necklace from the Himalayas. The weight of the silver beads that extend to the barrel make it heavier than something I might normally wear. It is the barrel that opens on one end to hold these prayers and wishes that ultimately make it a conversation starter. For me, wishes and prayers run a tight twisty parallel, often weaving in my brain tighter than my DNA helix.
I am certain in the deepest chambers of our hearts, live wishes and desires too big for us to wrap our heads around. Equal residents of those chambers, are the seemingly impossible/against all odds accomplishments waiting for the right time to come to fruition. I love the line from the old Billie Holiday song, “Crazy He Calls Me” (Decca Records-1949) “the difficult I'll do right now...the impossible will take a little while.”
For more than 10 years, I carried the same three wishes/prayers in the barrel of that necklace. I was able to remove them when they were answered. One was for my dear friend Jane, battling breast cancer, now a breast cancer survivor. One of the prayers was for a fierce twelve-year-old battling brain cancer #AwesomeAvery. She gains strength and distance every day away from cancer and embraces the word-survivor. The third wish/prayer may seem frivolous compared to the seriousness of the first two. Hear me out.
Having spent more than a decade of my formative years in Chicago, and now a Seattle resident, I know about the deep abiding love a city can have for its teams. I have a dear friend who has held a special place in my heart for more than 50 years. I wanted him to see the Cubs win a pennant in his lifetime. Three generations of his family of die-hard, Chicago Cub fans, had never known the joy of a National pennant. Some might say Chicago has had more than their share of pennants, trophies, championships. Agreed. Yet, on that miniature scroll I beseeched God to answer this long suffering ache for him and every Chicago Cub fan.
That historic day and the humble thanksgiving prayer now graces my red leather journal affectionally named ‘Dox’, short for Doxology. Each answered prayer and granted wish begins with this line…"Thank you God, for reminding us who generates all miracles, the perfection of timing, and the Hope it infuses.” I learned from my sophomore English teacher, Lynn (Rafferty)Lasdasky, the value of always giving credit where credit is due. Another story for another time.
As each request is answered, I replace it with a new one. Shortly after receiving the gift more than seventeen years ago, I placed a fervent prayer of my own inside the barrel. A simple acronym. It remains unanswered. I leave it there as a quiet reminder that God does in fact, keep His promises. Life experience and deep abiding faith are an ever present reminder...I get no say in the timing. Waiting, like teaching, isn’t for the weak.
However, I do find life’s good experiences, the volumes of loving kindness I see every day are more than balance stones. They are the evidence whose impact helps in recovering from day-to-day knockdowns, when we are bombarded by horrific scenes, tragic, weather-generated destruction, and fear mongering that ravages even the most hardcore, hope-filled heart.
“Where do we begin to reverse this hell-in-a-handbasket momentum? Where do we find hope?" There is not enough room today in that tiny barrel necklace for all the prayers and wishes for our capsizing nation or this broken world and its inhabitants.
Lately, I’ve started in the same place each day, writing the very same words: May Day!!! May Day! I know You are out there! I know You can hear me! I wish to God you’d do something! Red flags here!!!! Waving the big, red intercession flags here!!!!
In the center of the frenzied flow of my fiercely scribbling ink and exclamation points comes the old familiar whisper to my heart.
“Switch that flag to white…then we’ll talk.”