Sunday, March 27, 2011


In the 18th century N.E. Primer appeared the following prayer...

"Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take."

I wrote an essay on Denningers "Ticker Forum" a week or so before I was banned. There was a guy who was seeking prayers for his son who was sick in the hospital with a serious life threatening issue. He had asked the "ticker bees" to pray for his son, that the doctors would find solutions and he asked for "Gods" will to be done.

My essay was about the nature of prayer and in particular the mass delusion that gripped the "ticker bees" as they uniformly put up little emotocons of little faces and folded hands all saying "prayers" and occasionally a few supportive words to the anxious dad.

Make no mistake, my sympathies and heart were one with this man. I faced the prospect of a lost child twice myself. I know only too well the inexplicable pain and angst of sitting bedside not knowing if my child was going to be with me the next day or not. I had and have great compassion for this grieving father, I've been there done that.

What I wrote about was the swarm of "ticker bees" delusional attempts to persuade "God", the false hope offered with deity bargaining, the reliance on the supernatural non-sense of invoking "the almighty" and the entire contradictory premise of divine intercession. In short, despite the opposition to the "timing" of my piece, I wrote the truth.

You see, the "truth" does not holiday until convenient. The "truth" does not sulk or hide away until the masses deem it appropriate. The "truth's" time is always now, regardless of circumstance. "Truth" doesn't stand in line behind "feel good". "Truth" is not unkind or kind, sympathetic or callous. sensitive or insensitive, it just is. "Truth" stands alone at the front of the line, all the time, every time and respecting and honoring its standing is a far more noble position for a rational man to take than cutting in line with platitudes and non-sensical well wishes of delusional, prayerful hope.

My young son had a cat many years ago now. In the morning I would let him outside for a clock setting 15 minutes where he would do his cat thing and return to the slider meowing to be let back in. One morning 20 minutes passed with no Tabby at the glass. I knew instinctively what had happened, coyotes got him. I put on boots and grabbed a flashlight to see if my worst fears had been realized. By the bushes was a tuft of hair and by the big pine another and further towards the woods yet one more...

The young one came downstairs as the sun broke the horizon. First thing he did as he was in the habit of doing was to look for his game face was on, time for the first father/son talk about the facts of life.

Tears flowed and sobs fell as I told him the story of what must have happened. I showed him the hair and gave him some comfort that his cat did not suffer. I explained to him that he was dead, had been killed by wild coyotes as was coyote nature to do, and that it was no ones fault. I said that he would not be coming back, that he would return to the earth after we buried him and that I would miss him too.

We buried the tufts of hair at the edge of the lawn where it met the woods later that day. We did not pray but said some kind words about what a good cat friend he had been. There was no lie told by me of cat heaven, gone home to the clouds to be with "god", kitty re-incarnation, or any other mythological bullshit. I told him that all things die, that no one knows what happens after that, that grieving loss was good, the memories are precious and that we were grateful for the time we had with this furry little creature. And that was that.

If "gods" will was at work in having two coyotes make a wish with my sons pet cat and causing grief to a 7 year old then he is a sick son of a bitch of a "god" If "praying" for a different outcome was of any use then "god" doesn't have much of a will if it can be changed by request. If he was a bad cat in his cat soul then he probably went to Hell and if a good cat who accepted the Lord and savior just before two sets of canines split him it half then I guess he went to kitty heaven. Either way the omniscient omnipotent "gods" will was done and my or my 7 year old sons pleadings wouldn't have mattered anyway.

I don't do irrational. I don't do deals with a "god" I don't do delusional for the sake of feel good and I have never lied to a child about the realities of life.

That evening we put some flowers on the grave and talked a bit about some funny memories when his cat would get hopped up eating catnip from my garden and flop around all crazy and shit. We took a ride and stopped for an ice cream, fed the birds at the town pond and considered getting another cat. I was ok with the whole day and so was my son. He laughed all the way home while I acted out his cat rolling stupid on the lawn with a belly full of catnip.

I told him the truth, he didn't need to ask a "god" to change his will or cede to his. He cried, he laughed, he accepted...more than I can say for most adults.


  1. I'm wondering if there's a difference between "truth" and "facts"... each of us has a sense of his or her own truth. I suppose this falls into the category of "belief"... and belief causes all sorts of problems in the world. We cling to them and refuse to see the facts because of the hold they have on us. Just look at the middle east!

    However, I do think there is wisdom in the timing of saying things. Listing facts to someone in the midst of great loss can increase their suffering. It takes a great amount of wisdom to know the right place and time to utter words. Well placed words can be a salve of comfort and healing; if unwelcome, what is spoken can inflict suffering and cause a person to be less receptive to the facts and shut down. We must be in a place of readiness to listen, so cultivating compassion in the midst of someones crisis is a good place to start.

    So sorry for the loss of your fluffy friend to the coyotes. Knowing you as well as I do, I know the loss impacted you deeply. I hope the man who asked for prayers knows this on some level and finds his way in the midst of being face to face with the undeniable impermanence of this precious human existence. You're one of the most caring and sensitive people I know, Photoguy. It's a side you unveil in this post and it shows.