Wednesday, February 01, 2006

"i'll pray for you" Part II

note to myself: don't drink a whole pot of tea within a couple of hours before going to bed. Gah! I hardly got any sleep. On the good side the cats got a lot of attention, I listened to my "sleep" cd (about five times...), and I continued to ponder the "I'll pray for you" comment.

First off I need to make up a new sleep cd. I made this one over a year ago, and while I still really like it, there are new and different songs that would also work well for relaxing/sleeping. Then I would have at least two to switch around occasionally. I do sometimes listen to a regular album, especially when I get a new one I love, but I've found these mix cds just about perfect for settling down and drifting off.

Now, on to the "I'll pray for you" thingie. As I noted in my entry yesterday that comment generally irritates me no end. But as I was waiting for the caffeine to wear off overnight I thought about this and realised I'm not always irritated by the comment. The irritation depends on the context and the manner in which it is said.

A former neighbor (not exactly next door, but a couple of miles away -- it was in the country), friend of my mum's (and while younger than my mum was, is reasonably close in age to her), is a super devout Catholic. We honestly don't agree on much of anything in religion, politics, education, even many social mores, but she is a really sweet, good human being. While I was taking care of my mum towards the end, she was taking care of her husband with advanced Alzheimer's, and we could talk to each other about things most other people couldn't understand. In many cases when I'd need help this woman would be the first person I'd could even be in the dead of the night and she would come over or get someone to come over.

This woman often told me she would pray for me, and I took as it was obviously meant -- as a very sweet gesture of caring and concern for me. It was always offered without judgement or condemnation, and even though I don't share her belief, it felt good. To me it wasn't so much that she would ask a god to help me, but that she cared enough about me to let me know she cared for me in the manner that meant the most to her.

But so many people use "I'll pray for you" as a weapon. As I noted in my last entry so often it's used as a parting shot in an argument. The person will launch into a litany of what he or she thinks of as someone else's shortcomings and flaws, usually for no other reason than he/she disagrees with the person's ideas or lifestyle, making sure to try to inflict as much pain as possible and then, as the final icing on the cake, says "I'll pray for you." Ha! Why would I want someone who despises everything about me to pray for me? Furthermore, the person being so in tune with god and wanting to pray for some heathen has just shown him or herself to be a not very decent person. It smacks of contempt -- you are a poor, pitiful, unworthy heathen and I don't like you, but I will pray for you. Pfftt! Shouldn't the person actually show some affection, some actual caring before praying for someone? Without real care and concern, it is utterly condescending.


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