God wears a guayabera (and probably smokes Cuban cigars)

He also answers prayers with a deep and resonant laugh. And waves his hands a lot.

It’s been a theater-of-the-absurd kind of day. That’s pretty SOP for the end of the quarter in my line of work … and then some. Things have a way of developing gravitas suddenly and inexplicably, sending an already high strung group of people on both sides of the desk into convulsions.

Lucky for me to have a daily smile texted at dawn. What’s not to love about a toothless grin from a lovable baby?

Perspective, as they say, is everything.

And if it isn’t, it certainly ought to be.

Sometimes the only way to get through some things in life is through prayer. That precious baby picture is part of a larger support group of people who pray for me. Now, I know people have been praying for me for a while. For a number of reasons. As a parent who frequently (I was gonna say religiously…too much? teehee) prays for her children, I know I can count on my own parents’ prayers. People I don’t even know have been praying for my family since my husband’s ALS diagnosis a few years ago. And social media, especially through Twitter and Facebook, has elevated intercessory prayer to an epic level by expanding the reach exponentially.

In the kind of Christian community in which I live and worship, work and play, it’s not unusual to tell someone, “I’ll pray for you,” and then really do it. In fact, I’d venture to say you’ve never really been prayed over until you’ve had a good ole Southern-style laying on of hands, but that’s a post for another day.

Prayer, then, takes many forms — from that spontaneous, extemporaneous artform of our evangelical brothers and sisters to the formal prayer of the Mass and all the beautiful prayers in between, from the sweet appeal to our Guardian Angel to the miraculous power of the Rosary.

I can do that. Mostly. I can follow along in a book or stumble through a poorly memorized and rusty prayer. I can get the job done, so to speak.

The challenge for me is not the deer-in-the-headlights call to lead a prayer for someone else — it’s the humbling appeal to a friend for a special, perhaps desperate, prayer.

There was a time when I wouldn’t have done it.

To acknowledge that kind of neediness is…well…needy. It’s weak. It’s shameful.

It’s ridiculous not to.

It took me a while to get to that realization. And then it became truly humbling, not in the common understanding of humbling to be lowly, but in the truly liberating humility that submits to God. This humility brings me closer to God’s light, an image that draws me more than any other. It is in that light that I bask in God’s love.

To ask my friends for prayer, then, is to let them love me. To give them the opportunity to express to me a love I willingly share with them. It is the grace to be loved.

When I made that adjustment, I realized how often my prayers are answered. Not with a yes or a no, a solution, or a miraculous change in the way things are going, but in the manner in which I receive God’s will. Because with it comes the peace and security of being truly loved.

 

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5 thoughts on “God wears a guayabera (and probably smokes Cuban cigars)

  1. Oh, Maria, that was a beautiful post, and consider my prayers added to all the others! I didn’t know about your husband having ALS. My mom died of ALS in only 13 months. I know it’s hard to consider yourself lucky, but if he has the ‘slow’ form, you are. Very.

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