Prayers are tricky things.
I never know what it really means to say to someone, "My prayers are with you". I know it means that the person wants to share love and concern with you and to provide support.
All of that is well and good and beautiful and is the way we should treat each other.
We live in such a diverse world, however, and how do we share that feeling when we don't really know what the recipient thinks of prayer?
My very secular friend has recently lost her secular mother and within days after her mother's death to cancer found out that her secular, 94-year-old father has esophageal cancer. Giving prayers to someone who doesn't believe in prayer becomes a sticky wicket.
I remember a time long ago when D and I received a letter from one of his cousins who was going off to do "mission" work. She was asking for money from all, and prayers from "good Christians". We were very involved with Judaism at the time; I even worked at one of the local synagogues. Her decision that my prayers weren't "good enough" was one of the most offensive things I've ever encountered.
Life can be capricious and random; on a global scale, my heart goes out the victims of the terrible earthquake in Italy, and especially to those who have not only lost their homes and loved ones, but in fact, their entire village and way of life. This is beyond imagining to me. On a local scale, a close relative in his 50s almost died this week when his bowel ruptured - despite the dire predictions of his medical team, he pulled through and is expected to go home in a few days. At the same time, within the same family, a beloved father is battling severe heart disease, maybe for the last time.
Life on my own end continues to be somewhat challenging if not dramatic - we're still getting my mother settled, I'm still trying to catch up with everything, and given a particularly nasty attack of arthritis, I'm moving slower than molasses. A good friend has been writing me back and forth and in her last e-mail she said, "My heart is with you".
"My heart is with you."
I loved that. There's no interpretation necessary. It doesn't need to be viewed with a religious lens. It doesn't need a cultural explanation. It's simple and it does the job beautifully.
So for all my friends and relatives facing challenges right now (and yes, there are sadly too many currently): my heart is with you.
Have a peaceful Tuesday.