Dedications to Suffering

Those I love suffer. Their pain is not something I can resolve. After all, it’s their pain, not mine.

So here’s what I do: I dedicate.

I go to church, and as I kneel on the pew, I tell God: “This service is dedicated to her. Every prayer I say, every gesture I make, every note I sing—let it go to her safe-keeping.”

I begin my day gazing into the trees outside the window, and I tell God: “This day is dedicated to him. Let every good thing I do today, every right turn I take, every moment of realizing your glory in the world–let it all go to relieving his sorrow.”

I have no idea why I do this. I have never read anything that says this type of prayer “works.” If you believe prayer primarily changes the prayer, this long-distance prayer—pray it then go about your life as usual—is nonsense.

But today I kneel in the dappled light of the living room. I look between the branches of the trees into the white sky, and I pray: “Take all the beauty of this day, take the creativity that worms its way into your universe, take the complexity of light and shadow, and give it all to her healing.”

The dog wanders into the living room, curious about what I’m doing on the floor. I pet her coat, the fur as soft as a duckling’s.

I give that to her healing as well.

here’s to creative synthesis . . .

prayer, suffering

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