Last night I lay awake thinking about the massacres that happened in Paris two nights before. And those that happen elsewhere almost every day. Although I am familiar with Paris and have friends there, and here is a very interesting thing about how that works: https://awmsmith.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/places-and-parity-processing-horrors/
And I also thought about the invocations to Pray for Paris and Pray for Peace that I’ve seen. I know that all or almost all of those invocations are well-meant and from nice people. And that it’s hard to know how to react to such events when they make one feel so impotent, and are indeed intended to make one feel impotent. No doubt praying makes some people feel more potent. Yet as I thought about what I would say in my prayer I felt even more impotent. Especially as, against all intentions and expectations, an actual prayer took form in my mind. Well, I say form. It was late and I was feeling emotional. Here is the prayer, pretty much as it formed or deformed in my mind in that moment. (I took some notes down at the time and then transcribed them today.)
Um. Okay. I’ve just realised I don’t actually know how to address You. You know, whether You are Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or whether You are Aphrodite, Zeus, Odin, Thor, or the Sun. And I don’t want to offend You or anything, or to reveal to You that I’m in the wrong God Squad. I certainly don’t want You Smiting me Down or throwing a big hammer at me or anything! Lol! Seriously, though, I’ve read some of Your books and You do seem to get angry a lot. You really ought to look into what that’s about. Especially as it kind of contradicts the Mercy I’m told You are full of. Might be a bit bi-polar there, as well having some anger management ishoos. There are people who can help You, You know.
Anyway, right. I could take a guess about how to address You, but obviously with Your Omnipotence You’ll know that I’m just trying to fool You, and apparently You will not be mocked. Actually, to be fair to You, I haven’t been struck by lightning or anything since I wrote the above, so I’m guessing You’re in a Merciful mood today and so are cool with if probably unamused by my silly jokes, especially as they are leavened with sycophancy about Your Almighty Power. And indeed I’ve also noticed that it’s kind of a big deal for You to have Your Almighty Power validated in this way on a regular basis. Again, You really probably should look into what that’s about.
Oh, all this is very awkward, isn’t it? As You’ll be aware, with the old Omnipotence and everything, I haven’t actually prayed to You in many Earth decades. That’s not very long in the Eternal terms that You are accustomed to, but it is nevertheless a significant portion of the three score years and ten that I am granted here below, assuming You spare me the attention of those who claim to be Your personal assassins, as You haven’t done others who are no less deserving of your Mercy than me. Or spare me an early heart attack or cancer or whatever else I might be Struck Down with in what I would otherwise hope to be the middle of my life.
Anyhoo, as I say, You’ll know I’m not exactly a devout worshiper of You. And indeed You will know that it all began when You did not answer all the prayers I sent You when I was a small child. Well, it seemed at the time like You answered some of them, but I couldn’t quite understand why You didn’t answer others. Perhaps You were torn between my prayer for something and someone else’s for its opposite. Admittedly, that must be a tricky, even for You. Although I later figured out that the balance between the prayers You answered and those You didn’t were pretty much correlated with the laws of probability, but that was probably just a coincidence. I should of course have Faith that there is a Reason for everything. But, I have to admit, it did kind of stop me bothering with the praying thing after a while, even though I am given to understand by those who love You the most that You like it very much when people get down on their knees and beg You for things. You should definitely look into what that’s about as well.
You may also remember that another moment that ended my praying career happened very early in my education. That time when I asked my particularly devout primary school teacher, Mrs Jewiss (which is a brilliant name for an evangelical Christian—good one, You!), why there are wars? And, well, You remember what she said: “Perhaps it’s God’s way of keeping the population under control.” She said. You may remember that I was pretty taken aback at the time, to say the least. Surely, I thought, even back then—SURELY—there is a better way of keeping the population down than wars? And later on indeed I thought, hey, condoms! Can’t You make condoms grow on trees? Surely You can! After all, You Created all the trees and everything else in six days, so it would only take a minute or two of Your eternal time to give us such a thing as Condom Trees! It would look weird, I know, all the Condom Trees, but surely their existence would be less offensive to Your Creation than all the horrors of war: the terror, the blood and guts, the sight and stench of bloated corpses, the trauma of survivors, the grief for the fallen, and the endless criticism of Jeremy Corbyn’s inadequate bowing.
I know or at least I have been told that You have Ishoos about sex, and that this might make You a bit leery about the Condom Trees. But then again You did Create sexual reproduction, and indeed gave Your Creations rather more interest in it than is strictly necessary for reproduction (You really need to talk to some of Your Catholic priests about that, by the way). So it doesn’t make much sense to me that You should do that and then get all Forbiddy about replacing wars with Condom Trees. But I’m told You are the Almighty One, and so I guess You know what You are doing.
Yes, so, anyway, as You can see, and as indeed You knew anyway, this story has stayed with me a long time. Indeed, beyond giving up on praying, it is one of the first moments that I started doubting You, and indeed remains one of the main reasons why I stopped believing in You altogether, despite the evangelical efforts of the many people You sent to indoctrinate me and all my fellow small children. Including, of course, the very pious Mrs Jewiss. Incidentally, if she’s up there with You now, as she confidently anticipated she one day would be, then You really ought to give her a massive bollocking because she totally lost You one when she said that population thing. It’s going to take a fucking lot of Condom Trees to undo her work, I can tell You.
Yes, okay, right, this actually brings me to my point. Paris. You knew that was coming, right, being Almighty and Omnipotent? So, to put it in less than Biblical language: wtf? And of course wtf about all the other massacres just like this one that are happening in less wealthy corners of Your Creation? You may indeed wish to consider most especially that more of them tend to happen in places where people are particularly devoted to You. Of course Your followers and all the followers of False Yous will say that You work in Mysterious Ways. Well, they’re certainly right about that. Or that You just started the world and then let us run it. But then those same followers also tell us that You are Omnipotent and Almighty and that we should therefore pray to You as if You really actually might stop them from happening again. Which doesn’t make much sense to me, either. Nor of course does me praying to You when I Believe You don’t exist. But then Paris made no sense to me. A lot of what happens in Your Creation makes no sense to me. But I’m told You are the Almighty One, and so I guess You know what You are doing.
P.S. Why didn’t You make me gay? Because then I could marry a guy named Adam, and that would be funny.