It’s a typically cloudless sunny Sunday morning, here at the bottom of San Francisco Bay. I’ve just had strips of burnt wheat toast dipped in yogurt with dill-seeds & pre-cooked rice (having finally run out of margarine.)
As I type this, I’m listening to Peter Benoit’s massive “Hoogmis” (21 JUL 1861; Pt. 2 of his ‘Religious Tetrology); with the BRTN Phil. Orch, & Phil. Choir, Brussels, under Alexander Rahbari, (Discover DICD 920178)
Currently I’m reading Jane Redmont’s WHEN IN DOUBT, SING Prayer in Daily Life (paperback edition, 2008; Sorin Books, Notre Dame IN www.sorinbooks.com) loaned to me by her cousin Nancy (Rothenberg) Tepperman who sings in the alto section of the San Jose Peace Chorale, sitting directly in front of me in the bass section.
Until today, I've been trying to ignore Jane’s autobiographical chapters’ insistence on the social context of prayer. I long ago (ca. 1962) abandoned it with Roman Catholicism, & did & do not want to reacquire it now that I’ve long been an Episcopalian with Carolin Combs, who’s now dead these past 2 years, & I’ve returned to the radical loneliness of my solitary late-teens.
But a paragraph of Jane’s (p.17, par 1) stopped me a few minutes ago & I began to think of writing about thoughts that ensued. It was: “Our context is not just our social world. We pray also as inhabitants of planet Earth and participants in nature. The mountain ranges, the corn, the grass pushing up between the cracks of an urban sidewalk – they are part of our community.” (attributed to Elena Stone.)
This thought isn’t exceptional, but it forces me to see myself as somehow praying as I ride one of my ’70s Shogun 10-speeds here in flat urban Santa Clara. Praying is something I’d long studiously avoided. For me it had always been intentional, if not petitional. Seeking, but not asking, not receiving. Until Carolin died (26 JAN 07); since then I’ve frequently asked my Guardian Angel for help. Any help. I assume I’m getting it, somehow, whether I can recognize it or not. I do need that help.