I have been lax in updating my prayerbook with the requests of my community and my family, so today, I carved out a block of time to catch up. I provided bread and drink, incense and fire, as offerings, and I washed my hands before I picked up book and pen.
I spent four straight hours, in the company of a diehard tealight, my gods, and my ancestors, writing out fourteen pages of prayers by hand. There is quite the stitch in my shoulders and back from the work.
What strikes me is not the physical discomfort, nor the tears I shed over the deaths I quietly recorded, but the perspective offered by being a silent witness to others’ troubles, fears, pains… and triumphs. There were remarkable and unexpected recoveries from illness and injury, just as there were worsening prognoses and deaths. There were jobs seized, along with jobs lost. Relationships and friendships forged and repaired, along with bonds broken.
And every moment, for every word I spelled out, for every prayer I scribed and spoke, I was reminded of how blessed I am, and how grateful I am for those asked and unasked-for blessings.
It’s hard to pray for others without gaining that perspective for myself. And for that, and a million other things, I am thankful.