Coffee and Prayer

Spiritual Smart Aleck


My friend Sonya came to visit for a few days the other week.

Her daughter and son-in-law gave her a Kindle for Christmas, and while she was here she got onto my computer and logged into one of her library accounts to download a book.

When she was done, she got up and walked away from my computer, leaving her library card on the computer desk. Some time later I came in and saw it there and thought, oh, I’ll give that to Sonya.

So I picked it up and took it into her bedroom and left it on the table next to her bed.

Or so I thought.

The next day Sonya asked me if I had seen her library card. Of course I had – and went to the table next to the bed, where the card was conspicuously absent.

There followed a search – on the bed table, on the computer desk, on the kitchen table, in the living room, on the floors of all the rooms through which I had walked. Everywhere I could think it might be. Nada.

Finally I took a deep breath and said, “Okay, I’m going to leave it to coffee and prayer.”
I made my morning cup of coffee, carried my mug to the kitchen table and sat down. I took a calming breath and prayed, God, help me find that library card, then said, “Come, holy spirit,” and sat there quietly.

In a couple of minutes it came to me: the washing machine.
Got up and went there, and sure enough, there was Sonya’s library card. It was on the dryer, actually.

I had stopped to move a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer, and set the card down, and by the time I cleaned the lint screen and got the dryer going, I had forgotten all about the card.

This sort of forgetfulness is sometimes attributed to aging but I’ve been losing and forgetting things all my life. Some of us don’t even need to move. We have something in our hands, set it down, and it is gone.

I’m finally learning that what frenzied searching won’t do, calm reflection and prayer sometimes will. The coffee is something to enjoy regardless. And maybe a cookie.

Now, for you constant readers, I said in my last column that I was praying for a dear one who was going through a rough patch. To catch you up a little, things are better now. When I posted that essay on my blog, I added this:
“Post Script: the rough patch has passed, and my dear one is doing better. Not that I’ll stop praying. Don’t believe in praying? Just think of it as deeply and faithfully and constantly wishing all the best for someone you love, with all your heart and mind and soul. I believe this sort of thing tips the balance of the universe.”

Yeah. I do believe that. Looking at that paragraph now, I think perhaps I should have mentioned that even though you pray and think and wish and hope, you cannot control any outcomes. So don’t expect that.

I know. It’s a bitch. On the other hand, it works in our favor when someone is praying that God would smite us.

Coffee, prayer, and calm breathing are getting me through a lot of rough patches these days, both in my personal life and in my feelings about what is going on in the world. So much has stopped making sense.

I am still watching or listening to the news on Canadian television and radio frequently. It’s good to hear the news of the United States from the point of view of another country. You also realize that the USA is not the only country with problems.

Recently a group of Canadian politicians in their Parliament broke into singing, “Barrett’s Privateers,” a rousing Stan Rogers song/sea chanty, and it made the CBC news. They sang it badly, but still. When have you ever heard any of our legislators spontaneously break into a sea chanty?

Canadian politics became dear to me years ago. I was listening to CBC news, and they had a story about a bill that parliament had fought over. When it came time to vote, one side was certain the other side did not have enough members present to win and they were congratulating each other on what they were sure would be a victory.

Then, at the last minute, a gaggle of opposition voters jumped out from behind the drapes and voted and won.

American politicians never do anything fun like that.

Maybe I’ll pray for singing in our Congress when I have my coffee tomorrow morning.

Singing, and prayer, and calm breathing.

Coffee is a personal choice.