“You know, while I appreciate your words, people saying they are sending prayers is pretty much a throwaway line these days.”
I’m somewhere in a dream; it is early morning; and this conversation is going on in my head.
In the story, a friend is telling me he recently learned the doctor is telling him his cancer is a one-way road, no U-turn available. All he knows is the pavement will run out too soon.
“People tend to type those words into a keyboard and never think of them again,” he said. “Like I said, translucent platitudes.”
As is in dreams, my voice speaks from a strange third-person way. I am outside the body speaking but somehow connected. I know what I’m wearing and the color of the bike I’m standing next to.
“Prayers are real,” I said. “I’ll grant you some people might toss out words of encouragement in certain situations, but I can tell you prayers are very real.”
“If you say so,” he said.
“Look, if I tell you you’ll be in my prayers, you will be in my prayers. And I can tell you, from my personal experience, they are very real and very powerful.”
As is dreams, the surroundings ebb and flow into different locations. I then realize we are on a cell phone, his voice carrying a bit of static.
I hear my voice again.
“I’ve been in some difficult spots in life and there is no other way to explain what came next other than someone listening on the other end. Call it God, call it something else, but I’m telling you there is someone there. I believe it with all my heart.”
“Well, I’ll be counting on yours. Maybe you can put in a good word or two,” he said.
Professionals tell us dreams are unpredictable manifestations of churning emotions inside of us. In the last several days I’ve learned someone I knew in school taking his life. I also learned another friend quietly being treated for cancer yet never sharing with me. Instead, he selflessly focused his attention on the difficult medical journey my daughter was on at the time.
I am not a professional at much beyond a keyboard, arranging letters and words in order to tell a story. But I am sure these two items deeply disturbed and impacted me deep inside.
I’m going with the following: all around us, people are secretly going through difficult times and highly personal challenges. And while we may or may not know about them, we need to not be afraid to ask for prayers for those in nee — the clerk at the grocery store, the homeless man pushing a cart alongside the road, our spouse.
In the end, and there will be an end, let us cast our net of prayers far and wide, asking of help on behalf of those we may not know who need it most. Because, in my experience, someone is out there waiting to receive your words.