A Joint Post by Barclay and Joy
JOY- Sometimes, a topic resonates so well with both of us that we have to write jointly. The title sounds like a joke Rodney Dangerfield might have told, or Henny Youngman! Don’t ask me who they were because if you don’t know you’re too young for this ride!
Barclay and I did indeed meet at the bus shelter in 1981 on the corner of our building on Chicago’s Gold Coast.
While our backgrounds are very different, we have come to learn over a lifetime of friendship, soul searching, commiserating, kvetching, crying and laughing that we are kindred spirits. You see we both believe in a higher being, the power of prayer, and we lead spiritual lives that mean a great deal to us.
Coming off the High Holy Days, the two most sacred Jewish holidays of the year, I am in a reflective mood. I have self examined my past year and asked God for forgiveness for the many actions I took that were thoughtless to a friend, a family member, a neighbor. I have sat through hours of services, listened to countless sermons, and heard many shofars blown year after year. The one thing that has never changed is my belief that tradition matters, rituals are important, and prayers are heard no matter how silently we utter them.
BARCLAY – Each Tuesday morning I have the privilege of spending time with a group of toddlers while their moms attend a Bible study. For September the toddler story has been about Hannah pleading with God to have a baby (I Samuel; chapter 1) The accompanying verse has been, “Do not be afraid; your prayer has been heard.” We teachers and toddlers sing this verse to the tune of Frere Jacques (which if you do but a few times – and the verse will be forever stuck in your brain. Not a bad thing. Try it!!).
During my turbulent high school days, my brother Charlie told me that there are 3 things to remember in life:
God exists. God loves you. The story ends happily.
To Charlie’s list, I would add a 4th – God hears. Especially the prayers from deep within our soul.
God heard Hannah’s desperate pleas for a child. The following year she gave birth to Samuel who became the great Old Testament prophet of Israel.
And over the years God has heard my own prayers – especially during times of loneliness and fear – the “Scaries” of life. That’s when He has reassured me of His presence. He has been faithful when I have not.
At this late date, it seems unlikely that I will give birth to a prophet of Israel. But I am grateful to God for providing:
Toddlers to sing with.
And a friend to laugh, pray, and commiserate with – beginning in a bus shelter long ago.
. God is omnipresent, as well as omnipotent. No matter Jew or Christian, Buddhist or Muslim, Hindu, (you get my drift), pray as though you mean it. Get in the zone. God knows when you do a half ass job!
. Never stop praying. You will always be heard and your heart will be lighter for doing so.
Enjoy the Ride
xox Barclay and Joy