roller coaster prayer

Sometimes, God, we talk about experiencing life
as a roller coaster.
And we tend not to mean exhilarating—
exciting,
fast and fun—
with our arms waving in the air to show how carefree we feel.
We tend to mean full of ups and downs—
twists and turns,
such that you hardly ever settle into what is
because you know what’s next will throw you for a loop.

Sometimes that is, in truth, what it’s like.
So sometimes, we pray as if on a roller coaster—
pray thinking I’m ready for this to be over.
I’m ready for some straightaway.
We pray with our arms wrapped around us
trying to hold ourselves together—
trying to hold life together—
trying not to let go of what’s important—
our assurances, our hope, our peace.
But the next hard turn
threatens to send it all flying.

Sometimes then, we pray
with no assurance, no hope, no peace—
saying, “You’re with us,”
but not really knowing what that means—
what difference that makes—
if any—
terrified we’re just about to throw up.

Sometimes,
to be real,
prayer can’t be pretty.

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