Agnostic Prayers

Writing on screen porchI am a raised-Catholic agnostic who prays, to who(m) or what I pray I can not say.
Writing on my screen porch just now, two women with bibles drove up and spoke to me through the screen. “May we recite a passage from scripture?” the taller one asked through the screen.
“If it’s short, I’m working,” I answered. “And, if I can read you the paragraph I just wrote first.”
They both nod.
I read the following unfinished paragraph about three women, two old lesbians and their aging niece, praying at the bedside of one of the women’s father who has just died.
“Selma (the niece) prays. Catholic prayers that both Regina and Jackie know and join in on: ‘Hail Mary full of grace. The Lord is with thee.’ ‘Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault,’ striking their breasts on every ‘fault.’ Selma does a little chanting, pagan or Buddhist maybe. She sings ‘Halleluiah,’ a Leonard Cohen song, one of Jackie’s favorites. A song she and Regina have always associated with their struggles over the realities of erotic desire or as Regina would say ‘cheating’. The fact that Selma chose this song makes Jackie grin inappropriately and she lowers her head. Selma delivers her version of ‘Halleluiah’ in a solid sincere voice that has not lost a bit of its high emotion since she announced she was going to be a famous singer when she was six years old.”
The tall woman opened her bible and read me the following passage. “Turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…”
I can’t remember the next few lines, but when she was finished, we all just hung there thinking our private thoughts for a moment. Then we all smiled. I have no idea, what, if anything this encounter means, a little prayer, each in our own way, in the middle of the working day maybe.

About sallybellerose

Author of The Girls Club, Bywater Press, spring 2011 writer gardener booklover
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14 Responses to Agnostic Prayers

  1. Jen D. says:

    I was raised staunch-Catholic and later turned away from religion altogether, which made my dear old Ma thump her good book even harder (seriously, she’s like a one-woman STOMP revival). As I like to say after Sunday dinners at her house: “Well, it was an interesting experience and no one got hurt.” So, I’m glad no one got hurt.
    Looking forward to your next book. Happy writing!

    • Ha, thanks for making me laugh, because yes, it’s true, people have gotten hurt by religion, but not today, not on my screen porch anyway. Happy writing and happy spring.

  2. Sally Dillon says:

    Hi Sally, It is such a pleasure to read your sensitive “right on” writing. Love it. Sally

  3. Hi Sally! This is just fantastic — now I know what to say when the bible thumpers come to my door — thank you, your writing is amazing.

  4. Carol says:

    My gal Sal,
    You are as always fabulousooo. Can’t wait for the book to “come out.” ceej

  5. As always, you are kind and thoughtful with people and your writings. Better than me with those who come to the door to sell Jesus /God. Looking forward to your next book.

  6. Reading this lovely piece just reminded me of a colleague coming into my office to ask if she could pray with me. She gave me two business cards–one said something like, “God has big plans for you!” (I still have those cards in my wallet. What the heck–it can’t hurt.) At the time I had a story coming out in a lesbian erotica anthology, and I wondered if that was part of God’s plan. (I’d like to think that it was.) Oh–re: old ladies behaving badly, have you read/heard of the book Sister Gin, by June Arnold?

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Carol. I love that you still have the card. I did read Sister Gin – an interesting book. I am of the firm belief that lesbian erotica is part of God’s plan. Can’t wait to read your forthcoming novel.

  7. Marilyn Huffman says:

    Oh my dear Sally, I looked longingly at the picture of your writing table, the porch, the view and missed you even more. My heart filled with how gently you dealt with the women who entered your sacred space. You are brilliant and truly a good soul. I’m proud to call you my friend. I want to read everything you write – I’ll even grovel for discarded post it notes.

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