We're Praying for you...

August 7, 2014

We're praying for you, sometimes actually means just that- at least with my friends.  But, other times in the South, it's what self-righteous people say to you when they are judging you behind your back and quite often to your face. It seems to be more of a small town thing, but I think it crosses all lines.  "Hon, we're praying for your son (to turn straight) or Hon, we're praying for you (to stop being a Mary worshiping Catholic and get right with the Lord because you ain't like us) or Hon, we're praying you find a good man (that ain't a drunkard like that last one you was married to)..." Notice the grammar in these prayers.  Are you starting to see where I am going with this?

I was born going to a Pentecostal church with my Great Grandmother who grew up Church of Christ, and then I went to a Catholic School. In third grade, I went to a Lutheran school for about four months. I went to a Baptist church for youth group and I was a summer camp counselor at the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints.  I baptized my daughter in a Methodist church, I was baptized Catholic, I was married the second time in an Episcopal church, and I have a Presbyterian Aunt.  I think I've covered my bases in the Christian arena.  My parents started dragging me to a Pentecostal church when I was in high school and that is where they met Brother and Sister So-and-So.

The So-and-So  family "prays" for me. I love the way that they look at me and cock their heads to the side and roll their eyes up  little when they say "Hon, I'm praying for you."  I love the matriarch of this family and I truly believe that she is the most sincere, kind, and precious woman who has ever lived.  She truly is zen and practices what she preaches. Her family, though, looks down on others who aren't as "holy" as they are. Her children and most especially, her husband, have always looked at me like I wearing the scarlet letter and even more so since I converted to Catholicism. Lord knows, I've made my share of mistakes in this life. I know that I am a sinner and that grace is all that I've got going for me in this world.  I know where I have fallen short of living up to my faith, and no one has to remind me of my short-comings, and for grace I am grateful and thankful every single day.

I saw the So-and-So's  at a recent function where the Patriarch of their tribe looked at me with utter disdain and said "We been praying for you, Miss Holly".  You know how you always want to respond with something witty and clever and then always think of that witty and clever response during the car ride home?  Well, here is my response:

"Brother So-and-so, thank you so much. I've been praying for you too.  I woke up this morning and asked Mary, the mother of Jesus, to intervene on your behalf.  I prayed for your daughters who have always judged me, and especially that one who had those marital problems that time when her husband was addicted to porn.  I have also been praying for her daughter, the one who seems to have an affinity for the marijuana and fornicating; I don't understand her being a missionary and spewing judgment toward me on facebook when she's running all over the world getting high and sleeping with strangers. Thank the LORD she shows up on Sundays and does that interpretive dance for Jesus, I know that He appreciates it.  And hey, if us Catholics can drink all we want and repent on Sundays, I reckon y'all can too (that's what they really think).  I pray for your daughter- the one who says to her children "Just because I can't see you, Jesus can..." and I have prayed for years for that son of  hers- the one who tried to feel up my daughter on the school bus that time when they went to Six Flags (I know Jesus saw THAT).  I don't think I have ever apologized properly for the fact that she might have sterilized him when she kicked him in the family jewels. I've also been praying for the spirit of gossiping that seems to run rampant in your family.  I pray that you, Brother So-and-so, will learn to practice what you preach by taking a stand for what is right ALL the time and not overlooking adultery when it affects your hunting lease.  I pray that your personal morality won't have such a cheap price tag on it. I pray that you will overcome your ignorance and realize that your church isn't the only one going to heaven. I pray that you will realize that not only your prayers make it up the chain . And I pray that even though I don't jump pews and act like a crazy person who has been released without their meds on a three day pass, that God will hear my prayers as loudly as he hears yours.  I hope that one day you realize that Jesus isn't a jerk and that he actually did love EVERYONE- ALL THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD- red and yellow, black AND white.  Love doesn't have colors at my church, your Granddaughter and her boyfriend would love it here. And I want you to know, Brother So-and-so, that I will keep you in my prayers every day and I pray that one day you may find true peace in God's arms and that you will one day understand His love to be without bounds and limitations, even for sinners like me. I also pray that you learn to tie a Windsor knot so that clip-on ties will no longer be necessary for you."

And the people said, Amen.

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