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Commentary by William Carter: Good Lord.... listen to Mama and pray

 I was on the phone with Mama the other day and we started talking about praying.

I could almost feel her grin and could actually hear her sigh of relief pinging off the telecommunications satellite sailing silently miles above us and bouncing back down to Middle Tennessee when I admitted to her that, yes, I do pray every day…and three or four times if I feel the need.  
 
“See,” she says, “I’ve always told you praying helps.”
 
Admittedly, I was a little taken aback by the tiny bit of smugness in her voice, but then I got to thinking that if anybody’s entitled to gloat about the fruits of their influence it’s all the Mamas of the world.  After all, I’m directly responsible for several hundred of the sleepless nights she worried through and I’m pretty sure I caused her to shed more than a tear or two back in my younger days.  It’s not that I was ever a bad person, it’s just that…well okay…maybe I was bad for awhile, like the time when I…well, never mind.  

The point is, I was born and raised a southern Baptist and like to think that, while I may have come pretty damn close once or twice, it’s only the accumulated weight of all of those Sunday morning sermons - along with Mama’s gentle ministrations - that will, hopefully, keep me from tumbling – soul first - into that oh-so-vividly-described-from-the-pulpit lake of everlasting fire that’s supposed to be waiting for all of us who don’t do right in the mortal realm. 
 
I didn’t plan on writing about the praying conversation I had with Mama, but then I received a rather lengthy e-mail from a lady who informed me I was going straight to hell and demanded I cease and desist – RIGHT NOW! - writing anything else about Jesus because it was obvious I didn’t know Jesus.  The lady was from a little town in Minnesota – just one more reason I’m highly suspicious of the internet – and wrote that “if YOU ever decide to come to OUR town WE will NOT tolerate YOU or YOUR BLASPHEMOUS WAYS and run YOU out the first chance WE get!!!!!”  
 
The caps and exclamation points are hers, not mine.
 
Needless to say, I was devastated.  Not only was someone I don’t even know trying to censure me, my dream vacation options have now been reduced by one destination.  
 
The thing is I’m a big fan of Jesus’ and have a picture of Him on the wall of my office and two statues; one on the bookcase and one on top of the computer.  I just moved the Jesus on the computer, though…just this very moment.  He was right next to a half-nekkid hula-girl figurine wearing nothing but a grass skirt and strategically-placed lei, and I don’t thing that’s right.

Whatever the case, I’m one-hundred percent certain I’m not going about how I choose to worship or pray in ways that suit everybody out there… just as I’m one-hundred percent sure Jesus knows I’m giving it my best shot and is okay - and probably more than a little amused - with my awkward, human-like attempts to act like I’m supposed to.
 
As far as the praying goes, I’ve never really asked for much of anything except when Love-Weasel was sick and I feared she would leave me.  I’ve also prayed for other members of my family and my friends when they reached points in their lives where I thought one more voice would make a difference.  Whether or not my voice was the one that made that difference is something we’ll never know…but such is the nature of prayer.

 I also give thanks every night for making it through another day and for the health of my family and my friends and the fact they all put up with me even though I am absolutely not the easiest person in the world to put up with.  I give thanks, too, for all the things I’m still awed Someone up there thinks I deserve.  Sometimes, early in the morning, when I’m sitting on the back steps with a cup of coffee in my hand and its quiet outside and a mist hangs low over the hay field, I’ll give thanks for that.
 
Whether or not I’m doing it right is a mystery; one I think we’re not expected to figure out until, well, we’re expected to figure it out.  
 
And if how I’m going about it hurts anybody’s feelings, just remember, I’m not doing it for y’all anyway.
In the meantime, I’ll just keep on doing what seems right for me.
 
And to the lady in Minnesota…you’d better hope I don’t forward your mean-assed e-mail to Mama.
Good Lord…you’d really have something to pray about.
 
 

Posted on: 11/1/2013

 
 

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