Monthly Archives: May 2015

When Prayer Doesn’t Work

The Oprah Show

Years ago when I lived in Manhattan, my friend Mike and I watched an Oprah show about bullying. The show featured a young girl in Junior high. She didn’t have the greatest Hollywood-enhanced figure. She had coke-bottle glasses and her clothes were something out of Revenge of the Nerds.   This girl told her heartbreaking story about ridicule and shame.   Oprah asked for feedback from the audience.  Many people stood up and said, “Girl, you need to be yourself…” “You need to stand in your power…” “You need to ask God to help you…”

Good advice, right?

The bullied girl didn’t think so.   After each sound-byte of self-help, she took her stubby finger, pushed her grimy coke bottle glasses up on her nose and whined in a voice like a dentist’s drill, “Yeah, I tried that and it didn’t work.”

The audience was flummoxed but Mike and I found her compelling. She was a bad accident and we couldn’t look away. She was a “don’t-let-this-happen-to-you,” that could very well happen to us.   See, Mike and I were working on ourselves, working to become better.   We both had big dreams and we were praying for astounding results.

Throughout our years in New York, we would occasionally look at each other and say, “What if we wind up like the Oprah girl?   What if after years of trying, we say: ‘Yeah, I tried that prayer stuff – and it didn’t work…’”

Maybe you can relate. Perhaps you’ve been stuck in the same problem for years. Maybe you’re praying for changes and doing everything “right” but your life still seems “wrong.”  Is it possible that your prayers don’t work?    Continue reading

Dances With Dogs – Trade the Pressing for the Precious

Norman and Sheila

Years ago when Hugh and I lived in New York, we went to a play called The Boys Next Door, by Tom Griffin.   It’s a serious comedy about the inhabitants of a Group Home for adults with mental challenges.

I remember one outstanding scene in this play.

Norman is an overweight man with a tiny IQ.  We learn he has a crush on Sheila, a frumpy, cranky woman, who also has a low IQ.   They meet at a social gathering and shuffle over to each other.  They communicate in dim, flawed language and start a slow, lumbering dance.

Then it happens: the lights and music change. The actors make eye contact. They beam at one another. The audience sees Norman and Sheila as they see themselves. They are a radiant Fred and Ginger, a glorious dancing king and queen.

Hugh and I both sobbed out-loud in the theater when that happened.   It was at least twenty-five years ago and I still sigh when I think of it.

I remember this moment because I re-live it often. Sometimes despite all appearances, I am glorious even though I am not.    Continue reading