Sick Confessions: I’m a Bad Pray-er

Sick Confessions: I’m a Bad Pray-er March 30, 2017

“You arrive at enough certainty to be able to make your way, but it is making it in darkness. Don’t expect faith to clear things up for you. It is trust, not certainty.” –Flannery O’Connor

It’s almost here. My freaking ride. April 1. Three little days away.

My past two practice rides left me panting, worn out, after riding only two miles.

The shortest course for the ride is six miles. It looms over me, taunting, like the baseball uniform in my closet when I was 11.

Any failure is your own. You should be able to do this.

I guess my disorder, Friedreich’s ataxia, can be summed up that way. My brain thinks I should be able to do basic things, but my body doesn’t keep up. It’s a disease of frustration.

But at least I have prayer, right? Placing all of my fears in God’s hands, and then not worrying about them. All good Catholics pray, right?

Truth is, I’m not a very good Catholic.

As a doubly awkward teenager, slowly but surely, my body kept regressing, even through my most fervent praying. All I wanted was a miracle. I didn’t get shit.

Now, I’m jaded. If I say, “I’ll keep you in my prayers,” I mean “I’ll keep you  in my thoughts,” and I’ll help you if I can. Because prayer hasn’t cured me, and I don’t think my praying for you will work for you either.

Praying seems pretty essential to being a good believer. Truth is, I’m not a very good believer.

I feel like this would be a great point for a “But…”

There isn’t one.

Sometimes, I cling to my religion out of habit. Sometimes, my belief feels futile and archaic. Maybe that recognition solidifies faith, rather than diminishing it. I hope it does, at least.

I’ll try my hardest on the ride. Either I’ll complete it, or I won’t.

Maybe the effort counts. Maybe faith is acknowledging the unknown, not being certain of it.


Art by Brian Jocks



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