We have decided to skip the viewing to say our farewells in thought without needing to see her face frozen in the morticians best attempt at placidity, erasing the anger, the fear, the frustration, the pain that made leaving easier for her than remaining. We will say the prayers, most of them, she with fervent hope that they are heard, I as a member of the chorus. Some will invoke both the father and son and spirits will be moved, and I will reflect, will listen politely and hope the universe is receptive to one who is now in transit.
Today’s prayer shall be recited in silence total, not even the breath indicating a longing for action. Nor will it invoke a holy spirit without us for it is we we must inveigh to attain the desired actions for which we seek holy intervention, casting off free will, an accreting poor decisions, a goat where where seek scape and atonement for the sins of all the others. Today’s prayer shall not be recited at all, but it is this prayer in which we find absolution.
Autumn came on hard today the drop in temperature not unexpected in these climes, but still unwanted, forcing the closing of windows. Still, as the afternoon faded, I shouted toward the window a reminder not to go gently into night to fight the soon approaching dark. The squirrel on the lawn outside the window stood, forepaws held together as if deep in prayer and stared back at me, seemingly incredulous, so I loudly repeated my entreaty. He shook both head and tail, then said, “For God’s sake man, if you want to be the next Dylan Thomas have several more drinks, and please next time try and get the lines right!” He turned and headed up the old maple.
If you ask, she says, you take away the chance of ever getting a miracle. If you ask and it happens you reduce it to a simple prayer answered, no matter how surprising the outcome. You don’t see, he said it’s not the final act that is the miracle, it’s that it actually happens to someone presumptuous enough to believe themselves deserving.
There was a time not all that long ago, he reminds me, when the event of an eclipse was a certain sign the world was ending. Prayers were offered in profusion, and the event proceeded and passed, so faith in prayer was restored, if not in astronomy. Today eclipses are viewed as just other celestial events, like meteor showers and solar flares, something to see, something to experience, but always with the knowledge that tomorrow will always be right around the corner. But the eclipse of our freedoms is something we have never seen, and many now believe the world is ending, but we should, he says, realize that like the slow passage of the earth across the face of the moon, we will emerge into the light again in due time, our prayers having been answered.