thank God for unanswered prayer


If I were straight and young, I would be a Garth Brooks groupie. Seriously. Alas, I am neither so I will be content with listening to him via Alexa along with his other gazillion fans. One of my favorite country western songs he wrote and performed has the catchy title Thank God for Unanswered Prayer. In this particular hit tune the singer and his wife have a random encounter at a high school football game with an old flame of his that stirs a memory of the intensity of the passion he felt for this ex along with the fervent prayers he uttered to God for things to work out with her back in the day. As you might imagine from the title of the song, he concludes his life is much better without her and that some of “God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”

My theology is suspect. Because I was raised in a conservative Southern Baptist environment in the 1950s and 60s, I developed serious misgivings about my place in the hereafter; but I’m not wrestling that old demon today. Instead, I was reminded of a few of my own unanswered prayers when I heard Garth’s song.

A funny flashback came to me of a deep-sea fishing trip off the Oregon coast when I was in my early twenties. A couple of the older women I supervised at Brodie Hotel Supply in Seattle invited me to go with them and their husbands on a salmon fishing adventure early one cloudy Saturday morning. To make a very long fishing tale short, I have a vivid memory of praying to God from the boat’s only bathroom where I spent most of the day as grown men pounded on the bathroom door – begging me to please get out. The captain’s apologies to me  for the roughest seas he’d sailed in years from the other side of the bathroom door mattered not. I begged him to contact the Coast Guard to send a helicopter to rescue me from the wretched or retched boat and I promised God if She would just get me off that boat I would never bother her again with prayer from the open seas. The prayer went unanswered until the eight-hour fishing expedition was complete. Too little, too late.  I counted it unanswered, and I was not thankful.

Regardless of my faith and its well-documented decline in my later years, I confess to again praying for specific outcomes in situations that were desperate at moments during the vicissitudes of life. On one particular occasion I believed I wouldn’t survive the loss of an eighteen-year relationship that ended when I was fifty-four years old.  I was undone, drowning in a different kind of sea with very rough waters. I fervently prayed my relationship would survive, although my psychiatrist at the time wasn’t encouraging during our sessions. She did, however, prescribe fabulous drugs

But just like Garth Brooks in his song, I thank God for that unanswered prayer twenty years ago. Pretty became my personal Coast Guard that rescued me from the depths of my despair with her laughter and love as she breezed passionately into the core of my existence. Pretty  is the spicy salsa for the rather tortilla chip person I’ve always been, and her rescue gave me hope for happiness. We have had that happiness – and then some. We are not strangers to struggles nor immune to heartbreak in the years we’ve been together, but the joys comfort us when we are called upon to share the sorrows.

As the world around us tilts on its Covid-19 axis today, I confess my fears for all of our futures. I spoke to an old friend from Texas last night who reminded me we had been through and survived many health crises during our lives including polio, HIV-AIDS, smallpox, the bluebonnet plague – to name a few. Pretty and I laughed so hard about the bluebonnet plague when I got off the phone that I called my cousin Melissa who lives in Texas. She was equally entertained and added that the bluebonnet plague was definitely seasonal which caused Pretty and me to laugh uproariously all over again.

Share a laugh, stay sane and safe wherever you struggle today.

Stay tuned.

 

About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is an essayist with humorist tendencies who periodically indulges her desires to write outside her genre by trying to write fiction and poetry. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike and Charly. Her Texas roots are never far from her thoughts.
This entry was posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, racism, Random, Reflections, sexism, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to thank God for unanswered prayer

  1. Susanne says:

    Many chuckles in this post, Sheila, especially the image of you barricaded in the fishing boat’s bathroom, upchucking. Not that I’m cruel but just that I’ve been in that position, too, also salmon fishing off the coast of Vancouver Island some 25 years ago. I believe the Gravol eventually kicked in and the trip ended happily with 4 fish on ice. But it was a wild ride. Also, another occasion on a whale watching tour off the coast of Newfoundland in Bay Bulls. Let’s just say it was a bucking Bronco of a ride and no whales were sighted. Here’s to more happy endings and lots of laughs with people we love.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Luanne says:

    What an interesting idea about thanking for unanswered prayers. Really, isn’t it about how we tend to pray for specifics and yet God knows better than we do what we need? That’s how it seems to me at least.
    You poor thing with the seasickness! Wow, you had it bad and being trapped in it sounds awful. One year for my son’s birthday, the gardener and his friend planned a deep sea fishing trip off San Diego. It turned out really choppy that day and the boat turned around and went back to shore because they were all so sick. By the time they got home, which took a couple of hours, my son’s face was still literally green. Green, like Elphaba or Shrek. He can’t do rides at the fair either though. The whole thought of being seasick like that is nauseating to think about!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your son knows what I’m talking about then!! Unanswered prayers…I think we’ve all had a few of those…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Marsha Gregorich says:

      Thank you for the levity of an experience experienced by many. My solution is always stay on the deck in the air. No amount of prayer will ease this sickness. Hopefully, our current scourge will find it’s way out of our lives. Just maybe we will learn some lessons and let us hold our family and friends close.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good advice about the seasickness remedy – maybe 40 years too late, though!!
        Yes, let’s hope we do learn some lessons that will encourage us to remember how important our family and friends are in our lives. Thank you for your comments. Stay safe, my friend.

        Like

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