In my last post, I (carelessly) began by asserting that “I am not a religious person.” Technically, it’s true — I haven’t been a member of an organized religion since I left my childhood home in the Bible Belt (where this year folks are seriously upset that the word “Christmas” has been removed from Tulsa’s “Holiday Parade of Lights”) for the notoriously sectarian New York City (where people on the subway are hesitant to say “God bless you” when someone sneezes, for fear of offending whatever religion they may or may not observe).
But I realized this weekend that it’s not accurate to say I’m not religious at all. I’m a mom — therefore, I pray.
I don’t really know who I’m praying to — a bearded, sandal-and-robe-wearing deity who wields a scepter on a throne (kinda how I always pictured God)? A Goddess like Alanis Morrisette’s character in “Dogma”? Or a diffuse, omnipresent life force that powers the universe, like in some Eastern religions?
Who/whatever entity or force might be out there, I whisper a little prayer at the beginning of every day for my family’s safety, health, and happiness. This is especially true when we’re apart, as we have been for the past few days. G had to fly to Houston on a two-day business trip — which unfortunately turned into three days, due to a late connecting flight to Chicago that caused him to miss his flight back to New York. He had to say overnight in Chicago and return home the next morning.
N and I had fun with our “girl time,” but the house sure wasn’t the same without our family all together. I was anxious the whole time G was away and did a little extra praying, for good measure. When he returned safely, I thanked whichever God/Goddess/life force kept him safe and brought him back to us. His plane in Houston was taken out of service for maintenance, which made his flight to Chicago late, causing him to miss his connecting flight back to New York. Thankfully he came back yesterday, before the big blizzard hit Chicago that would have kept him away from us at least another day.
Air travel is a hassle, and it seems to me that it’s only growing more so as airlines try to pack more people on fewer flights. We encounter delays nearly every time we fly these days, which used to drive me up the wall. But now that I’m a mom, delays are not my big concern — it’s my family’s safety. If a plane needs maintenance, I’m all too happy for the crew to spend as much time as they need to fix the problem.
I can do lots of things to protect my family — make sure everyone wears seat belts, grab N’s hand a little tighter when we cross the street, watch N so she doesn’t get into the scissor drawer — but unfortunately I’m not omnipotent (don’t tell N!). I have to accept the fact that I can’t protect against every danger we will face. So I pray, hoping that some benevolent being out there in the universe will do the job for us.
And maybe we’ll start going back to church one of these days. There’s an Episcopal Church down the street, which would nicely blend my Protestant traditions with G’s Catholic ones. We just have to wait until N gets a little older and can actually sit through a service.
Until then, I’ll keep saying a little prayer every day. Maybe I’ll even throw in a “Your Deity Bless You” next time someone sneezes on the subway. After all, it IS the Christmas — er, Hannukah/Kwanzaa/Holiday — season!