When Lillian was a baby, I tried to bargain with God.
It was, I suppose, a version of prayer, called in by the desperation of a bedraggled and insanely weary mother.
On a mild November day, I had put my infant daughter in her stroller and taken her for a walk. Fully anticipating her normal routine of screeching after being placed ANYWHERE, I was pleasantly surprised when she feel asleep.
As I went around the block and all over my little neighborhood, bumping along the sidewalk, crunching the fallen leaves, I asked God if he could relieve me a bit, maybe have Lillian take to a bottle; or maybe not breastfeed 50 times a day; or maybe sleep longer that 45-minute stretches at night; or maybe entertain being put in a swing, carseat, stroller; or maybe allow her own father to hold her.
I walked around all day carrying her, her head nestled between my neck and shoulder, and I pretty much ignored the 2-year old I already had by necessity. No one else could pick her up. Her screams signaled that she was actively being wounded, not being held by the father who helped create her.
Things....they were not going well, and I needed a bit of assistance.
It turns out the particular answer to that prayer was no. Or, at least, that's how I heard it. Lillian continued to nurse very frequently, continued to require constant holding (by me only, of course), and continued to have the sleep patterns of someone addicted to speed.
Eventually I just gave up, taking things minute by minute if I needed to.
Somehow we got through, and perhaps that's where I'm wrong about my prayer. Perhaps it's in the strength I still don't think I possessed back then. Perhaps it's in our survival. Perhaps it's in the fact that she did turn a corner...even if it was 6 months later.
I've been thinking about prayer a lot. I've been thinking about my approach to it. Wondering how to make it more of a part of my life.
Not too long ago, I was trying to find someone a birthday present at the mall. I sat on a bench people watching for a bit, and watched a woman make a loop around me with a rosary dangling from her left hand. Her fingers, of course, at their particular spot on the beads. I watched her mouth move and no sound come out. I know someone was listening, though.
So...help me out. What do you do? Do you have a favorite prayer you say daily? Do you attend daily Mass? I'm not sure my schedule will ever allow that, but I wish that it would. Do you say the rosary? Download homilies to your iPod?
How do you actively weave prayer into the fabric of each day?