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“Exactly the pitch called for at the time.”

Today, I offer heartfelt prayers of gratitude for all my previously unanswered prayers. I hold no certainty that these fresh prayers will be answered, especially since I have no idea how I’d determine if they had been answered. I remain grateful for all of my unanswered prayers, whether or not I can accurately target my benefactor. This solo dialogue quiets my spirit. My confession, even as gratitude, lightens my heart. For all the times that the good guys failed to show up near the end of the third reel, I feel gratefully humbled. For the papers from the bank, lost for months in the mail or their bureaucracy, so passionately sought after but never found, I give thanks. I’m not certain who posted the casting calls for which angels never responded, but I’ll slip in a thanks to them, too.

The primary problem with prayers seems to be the same as the difficulty with customer specification wish lists.
Drafted by the patient rather than a more objective and knowledgable specialist, they tend to ask for solutions which seem unlikely to resolve the presenting complaint; and will likely make matters worse. Woe to all those with enough clout to demand delivery of exactly what they want, for these folks seem the least likely to ever experience satisfaction. Not only are customers not always right, they seem more often wrong. The most definitive description that I can muster about The Customer might be that they’re always the customer, as if that gave them any useful leverage.

Of course, I could placate and provide pretty much just what the customer asked for. I figure God (or the Gods) have long been on to just how sorry of an all-knowing/all-seeing this sort of placating might produce. Sure, the supplicants’ shoes would be perennially shiny, but to what end? It seems to me that any half-decent all-knowing/all-seeing entity could easily see right through most prayers to instantly understand their fundamentally misguided nature. The occasional teen-ager’s prayer, of course, might get answered exactly as requested, but only to start driving an inevitably hard-won point. Only by giving teen-agers exactly what they want do they ever learn the beginnings of the humility necessary to live long enough for that first mid-life crisis to solidly set in. That mid-life crisis should spawn at least half a raft of fresh prayers, perhaps a tad more mindful ones than those they earlier submitted.

Neither is that all-seeing/all-knowing deity likely to fully inhabit the Old Testament vengeful role, for vengeance, even in the sole hands of a deity, gains little. After an odd eon or two, with everyone being banished or utterly destroyed for their trespasses, any aspired-for civilization, even one solely populated with select chosen ones, could wear a little thin. Without hope for redemption, punishment loses its sting and settles for an obviously inevitable acquiesce. Why even bother writing the freaking ticket if there will be nobody left to pay the fine?

If we were indeed crafted in God’s image, I suspect that our God, my God, behaves more like you or I than like anyone resembling a perfect being. He could be occupied doing something, if not more important than at least more diverting than hovering around waiting for the odd incoming plea from the likes of me. He could write down my request then lose it somewhere on his (or her) cluttered kitchen counter. He could be forgiven for chuckling all-knowingly before strategically ignoring a few of my more naive requests. God’s not Santa Claus.

If life has taught me anything so far, it’s that what seems catastrophic today will, all by itself, likely seem somewhat less so tomorrow. Physicians insist upon first doing no harm, and this sometimes translates into doing exactly nothing. I suppose Gods are no less likely to distract to disarm or simply change the subject toward something more likely, in their vast experience, to perhaps even contribute to the good. My pleadings notwithstanding, how in the heck am I supposed to know when some surreptitious intervention took place on my behalf, anyway? The Lord reportedly works in mysterious ways. I imagine all the Gods spend their off hours trading stories of how their ungrateful or utterly clueless believers never caught that quiet spitball of a saving grace that slid right across the strike zone without them catching the first glimpse of it or even knowing it landed squarely in the catcher’s mitt. Exactly the pitch called for at the time.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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