Rocking Chair Theology

I recently came across a quote about prayer by Gypsy Rose Lee, which goes,  praying is like a rocking chair–it’ll give you something to do but it won’t get you anywhere. This analogy is quite true, specially if we put it within the context of the modern rush-hour life where we measure our success against  the figures in our paycheck and bank accounts, the market value of our house, the model of our car, the prestige of our jobs.  Our equally modern attitudes and approaches to problem solving, e.g.  self-reliance and emotional independence, also affirm Lee’s  observation. I also have a friend who tells me that God is an invention by desperate people who cannot accept reality.  And then there’s  my favorite poet Emily Dickinson praising the ingenuity of the  invention of faith.

On a personal note, I got issues and problems on my own to deal with [who doesn’t  anyway? So, welcome to earth].  I remember the countless times I found myself on the verge of an emotional break-down and wondering every time how long I could keep holding on specially that I got tremendous responsibilities to my family.   But always, always I was able to pull myself together by a very simple method: yes, prayer.  Nothing spectacular like walking on my knees on the way to the altar or going to Church everyday or reciting 50 decades of the Rosary.  Just a short interior monologue  like “Oh dear God, help me get a grip”  in the middle of doing the laundry, or “Bless me today Lord” on the way to the market [coz the budget was really tight], or “Guard him, Angels” when husband calls from work.  Sure these tiny prayers did not lead me to anywhere grand or  anything   huge–I am still here rocking on this chair;  still keeping things real;  still thankful for the prayers that were answered and hoping that the others will be, shrugging my shoulders if they won’t coz they are probably never meant to be.  And if God is really just an invention, then I want to thank whoever it was that invented Him coz He is way, way better an invention than all these machines and gadgets and technologies that have for sure moved us forward but not near anywhere to what is really essential in life.   God forbid that I be reduced to relying on a microscope, like those blind men in Dickinson’s poem, [coz although this awesome invention can give one a magnified view of an object’s parts, one will never see this object in totality] and thus, remain myopic.

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