Ever since I was a little girl I was taught to pray. To pray for others and myself, to pray when I was scared or needed help, to pray when life threw curve balls, and of course to give thanks. So, that’s exactly what I did and have still been doing. But, as I got older and life events got more difficult, I found myself searching for more prominent answers and quick responses. Recently, prayer has been more difficult because of this. At times it’s frustrating to believe there is something bigger out there when nobody is speaking back to you, when no one is simply saying “it’s going to be okay.” At times I just want to scream, “Hey, God, are you even listening?”
It all began in a hospital room on the fourth floor among buzzing wires and blinking lights. I clenched my fingers together tightly and prayed for help; I asked God to bring my father back to health. In my mind, it was going to be like magic. I would ask for help and instantly he would be talking to me like he had been the day before his heart attack. But, this wasn’t a fairy-tale and prayer doesn’t work like magic. Part of me wonders if that was the first time I ever truly asked God for His help. I prayed, my family prayed, friends and people I didn’t even know prayed, but yet nothing happened. After three days and many prayers sent, my father was removed from life support. To me, my prayers had been unheard, or even worse, denied.
Feeling as though my prayers were unheard made me mad, frustrated, and even question the existence of God. Why would He take my father from me? How come other people were given a second chance and my father wasn’t? Was I praying wrong? I asked Him this every day and every day was left with the vacancy of the unknown. I ask Him why he didn’t warn us that our lives would be changing so drastically. I played the “what if” game with Him every hour and still, no answers. To me, the most discouraging part about prayer was not being able to receive an instant answer.
I grew up under a Catholic roof and am a firm believer in our faith and forever will. I believe God has a plan for everyone, good or bad, and I believe everyone has a purpose here on earth. I will forever wonder why my father’s purpose was fulfilled so soon and will always long for his presence. Believing there is something bigger out there is beautiful, especially when life doesn’t make sense. It’s hard to think of the bigger picture and it’s even harder to think that someone who is gone can still hear you speak to them. I may not understand any of it right now and I might not for some time, but through prayer I will keep talking to my father and God. Maybe someday the question of “are you listening?” will no longer be a burning question at all.