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In Over our Heads: Stop and Smell the Coffee

By Susie Duncan Sexton 

 

I'll pray for you.  You pray for me.  Tea for two, and two for tea.  I see the moon--the moon sees me.  The bear went over the mountain to see what he could see. Even, Steven?  Let's position ourselves upon cruise control, by kneeling with palms pressed together while achieving an upward tilt to our profiles.  Cannot leave each other until we've pronounced, " A-men". Finally, I'll pat you on your head and instruct, additionally, that specific Bible verses be consulted.  Thus end our responsibilities to one another.  Now, on with our busy lives, and are we fine with that?  

     

Native American Indians chant, Muslims bow toward Mecca, Buddhists meditate, while you and I facilitate prayer chains and organize ourselves into prayer warriors.  To whom do all of us, in our extensive diversity, have a direct line?  Why not to each other through daily meaningful communication, good deeds and honest, happy relationships?  Why the ceremonial pageantry and the escape into mysticism?  Let's enjoy the party while we're earth-bound, as heaven seems far away and decidedly undocumented? 

 

Prayerfulness?  Silent, personal, unheralded--between one soul and whomever one is addressing, even one's self, organizing our noblest thoughts in order to co-exist peaceably with all life forces!  We must answer to ourselves and sense our obligations toward one another in real time.  Surely, HEAVENly headquarters cannot absolve our guilt, while leaving some of us out and admitting others.  Not my heaven on earth, the idea of which would be assurance that this precious gift of time offers productivity, pleasantness, and compassion while we live, with no waiting around to see if we're eventually black-balled or not.  No heaven and no HELL, just IMAGINE!

 

Christopher Robin knelt at the foot of the stairs, while a mis-interpreted prayer from Henry II precipitated the assassination of saintly Thomas a Becket, as Prince Hamlet scoured his own intellect for truths.  German composer Engelbert Humperdinck set a prayer to exceptional melody for Hansel and Gretel:  "Now I lay me down to sleep..."  Playwright Thornton Wilder, in OUR TOWN, tops them all through the youthful, ghostly Emily's ultimate breath-taking question to the audience: "Goodbye to clocks ticking...Mama's sunflowers, food...coffee...new-ironed dresses...hot baths...sleeping and waking up.  Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you.  Do any human beings realize life while they live it?  Every, every minute?"  I regard Emily as the most profound pray-er in all of literature and possibly history; her soliloquy the ultimate prayer.

 

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