Conversations with Dog


     No one ever taught me to pray.
I know a whole life of hearing other people do it and it always felt so…  rehearsed.  The frustratingly long altar prayers in every Sunday service.  Grandma squeezing the color out of your hand for fidgeting during the altar call.  Standing by famished when that one uncle everyone only sees twice a year "performs" grace over Thanksgiving dinner.  "Lawd Jesus, take me with you!" at a funeral.  None of it felt quite standard.
I know I was always told “come as you are,” and I totally took that to mean that God as I understood him would meet me where I could understand him.

     So sure, we know The Lord’s Prayer, repeat mitzvahs, we know standard graces over meals and we’re advised to pray regularly, but my question has always been “how?”
Get slapped enough for unintended-but-perceived disrespect just for asking that question as a child and the adult in you just doesn’t ask anymore even if the question never goes away.
I don’t pray like the rest of y’all might think one should.

Wait…
I should mention that I don’t ever recall having had a religious feeling in a religious place.  The closest I have come to seeing or feeling God was:
     1 – When my daughter was born, and at every smile, every hug and kiss, every milestone of hers since 07/15/2011.
2 – Walking into my house at the end of the shittiest of days, looking at Bruiser and saying “hey buddy” as his little tail gets to work.
3 – Listening to great music.
4 – The feeling of putting major work into something I love and seeing it come together when I am done.

Separate of the chance to feel these things, I still feel I should talk to God.  As mentioned above, though, I would think that maybe he could mind-read but I know how I feel when people think I should “just know” so I feel I should talk it out.
And I do.

     Silent house.
     No one around.
     No witnesses, no distractions.

Just me and Bruiser.  I speak on my dreams, my wants and needs, my worries and doubts, my concerns and plans.
I just talk out my stuff to the closest representation to me.  Never mind if he really understands or even really cares.  I know that if somehow Bruiser learns to speak English and starts blabbing my business, I will have to send him to Michael Vick's house.  But I know God is listening.  Speaking to #2 above, Bruiser sits still (he RARELY does this), he looks at me, he stands there and wags his tail.

     I repeat, no one taught me how to pray.  No one really “teaches” any of us to pray.  These are our conversations with God as we understand him.  Some of us have them in our driver’s seat or however we commute, during our morning shower or simply laying back staring at the ceiling.
Yelling “ooh God, oh Jesus!” during sexual congress apparently doesn’t count though.
[Phlip note: ...  sinners]

     And he is talking back…
I am thankful EVERY time my daughter walks up and hugs, saying “I love you daddy” because I never have to say it first.  Even moreso in her silly little giggle or quietly singing her own made-up lyrics to herself.  This tells me that I am doing something right and that God is apparently listening.


     So no…  No one taught me how to pray and I could never get a straight answer on how beyond why I should be.  And this is not here as an argument for or against belief.  All I know is that I am apparently doing something right for all my flaws.
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