My life has been one long, endless silent prayer.
I haven’t always known to whom I should pray. Although I sort of believed in God when I was a child, I didn’t actually meet Him until I was 23 years old. Before we officially met, my prayers lacked focus. But even then, before my encounter with Him, I prayed. Without making a sound.
“Please help me…”
“I don’t know how to get through this. Can anyone hear? Can anyone see? Is there anyone there? Does anyone care?”
Once I came to know God as more than an abstract, distant, invisible spirit, my prayers became more pointed.
“Please heal me. Help me pick up all the pieces and put myself back together.”
“Show me what I should do. Help me to recognize the best path…to make the right decision.”
“Please lead me to a person who can love me; someone I can share my heart and life with.”
“Please love me.”
“Please forgive me…I am such a failure…so imperfect…”
I prayed, yet only spoke the words internally. Played them in my brain. Spun them around and around in my head. Never released them to the air. I figured God could still hear me, even if I didn’t say the prayers out loud. And there wasn’t anyone else around to listen, so why waste my breath?
As you know by now, thinking and writing come fairly naturally to me. But talking…especially talking to a person face-to-face, has never worked well. I shut down because I fear being vulnerable. I hide because I am ashamed. As a result, the outcome has not been one that is desirable. It has been painful and embarrassing. And discouraging.
The silent dialogue continues throughout the day. Every day. Begging, pleading for a break. To be heard. For understanding. For guidance. For strength. To be led to a road that leads to fulfillment and love. To find purpose. To be given hope. To be forgiven. To become wise enough sidestep trouble and to remain undeterred when the right thing to do is the hard thing to do. And always, I pray for healing. Because I know I’m a mess. Far more imperfect than most. And I know there is little hope for me if I remain fatally flawed and unacceptably messy.
Like Voyager, hurling through outer space year upon year, broadcasting a message our ears cannot hear, nor could we understand if we did, so am I. Constantly transmitting without disrupting the quiet, nor disturbing the vast void through which I travel. I move swiftly through the darkness. My path has already been determined. The trajectory has already been set. In fact, it was determined decades ago. I can but stay the course and pray, silently pray there is a reason for this journey. And that, at some point, the good that is to be found in life, whatever good there might be for someone like me, will stumble upon me.
I seek, but I do not find. I make my requests known, but I find no comfort, guidance or relief. And yet, I pray. As I drive. As I walk the hall at work. When I go to the restroom. When I wake in the middle of the night, terrified of the terrain that lays before me. Still wondering how I am going to survive the day that is soon to dawn.
There was a time when I was full of hope and I believed that dawn would reveal new and wonderful horizons. I believed the day of my healing was near. That life would be joyful and full. There was a time, oh, so long ago now. Even then, I prayed. Even then, my heart had things to say that were never spoken aloud. Even then, I conversed in the language of silence. With the voice only my own soul could hear.
The language of silence. My native tongue. It is the only language I speak well. And so, I pray my silent prayers. I pray for a day when my voice is no longer muted, when my feelings are not suppressed or watered down. Numbed. I beg for an end to the terror that paralyzes me; an end to the airlessness and vacant stillness of my world. For an end to the darkness of the universe through which I travel and for an answer to the unspoken prayers of my ruined, weary heart.