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Prayer

 © Michelle R. Bachman,  There's something in the way the sun sets that makes me wonder if I'll ever see it again. It reminds me of that old prayer,

"If I should die before I wake, I pray the lord my soul to take."

I don't even know if I believe in a soul, let alone in the lord. Grandmother always told me to believe in the Lord Jesus, for he saved us all by sacraficing his life for our sins by the blood of the cross. Mother used to laugh at her, telling her that she was an 'old zealot' whatever that means. I'm sure it's not nice, grandma used to go off in a huff after those words.

Mother used to say a lot of things that made Grandma mad. But Grandma always told me that is wasn't what she said, but what she did that hurt her. I guess Grandma never forgave Mother for never coming back.

When all my things were moved to Grandma's I guess I just didn't understand why... I used to ask her where Mother's things were, and when she was coming to live with us again. Grandma always told me she wouldn't be coming back, but I never believed her. Mother was just mad, she'd be back, she always came back with a present and a smile.

But after four years, I guess I stopped believing that. I stopped believing in a lot of things after that. I no longer believed in Grandma's stories about Jesus, or about Mother's stories about a better way of life. I learned slowly that I could depend on no one, especially gods.

Grandma insisted that I go to church, and every other Sunday she would make me cook something nice for the potluck so that I could impress the minister. She used to tell me that he was the voice of the Lord Jesus and that only by being forgiven all my sins could I be guarenteed a spot in heaven.

But when Mother left I stopped believing in him too. I had never known what sin was, or what it mattered to me if he forgave me my tresspasses. After all, he wasn't my Mother, and he wasn't permitted to swat me. He always used to tell me stories of children like me, who were saved and went to heaven even though there was sin on their soul. He also used to tell me about Mother a lot...

"She put a mighty burden on your soul, child, by having you out of wedlock."

I guess that's why I didn't believe in a soul anymore. Even though I didn't believe any more of Mother's stories, I couldn't believe that she would have hurt me in any way. My memories of Mother faded over time, but I never lost the knowledge that she would have never hurt me on purpose.

Grandma said that Jesus would send Mother to Hell for leaving me. But somehow I always believe that I was the one who had to forgive her, not Grandma. I forgave her readily, just as I forgave Grandma her harsh words and long lectures. I even forgave the minister his mistakes and misunderstanding that I was the one who mattered, not Jesus, when it came to my mom.

But I never forgave myself for those moments of doubt when I began to believe in the god that Grandmother spoke of. I knew in the end that a true god, a god you could trust and depend on, wouldn't have lied to me. I knew this without understanding how, but I accepted it as readily as knowing that I could never depend on anyone...

Because if god is great, and good, as all the prayers say... why does this one promise an early death, alone in the darkness of night?

"If I should die before I wake, I pray the lord my soul to take."

There's something about darkness that makes me wonder if I'll ever see the light...

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Upload Date: 31/12/1969

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