Mention some experiences with prayer that remain disappointing or frustrating to you.
When I began this challenge of mine, to follow a prayer journaling guide, I vowed to answer each question and not skip. The purpose was to build discipline as a writer. But I wanted to skip this one. In fact as of last night I was determined to dodge this one and had already turned a page or two in the guide to see if the next questions might unlock something less unsettling. But the truth is, now is the time to share this disappointment which I call, after the song, My Constant Sorrow.
Last summer I received a long, long email from my son, a grown man with a family of his own. In this email he enumerated a long, long list of my failures as a father, some going back to when he was very, very young and some as recent as my last email to him. At the end of this long, long list, he gave me three ways to respond, and then explained how if I chose any of the three, I would be wrong. I was being disowned by my own son, my only son. I was being divorced from his family. He didn't have the time, energy or need to work on our relationship. He was through.
As one might imagine, this was devastating news. It's not that there wasn't some truth in his list of charges, but taken as an entirety, it certainly was not a fair picture of me as a father. I felt falsely accused even as I felt shame, remorse and sadness for those items which were in fact, or in his perception, true. Why have you forsaken me?
In the beginning I'm sure I prayed everyday--for my son, his wife, their marriage, their children, my grandchildren, to soften their hearts, that they know and show the Lord's forgiveness, that they know joy but mostly that they not forsake me in their lives. I waited for some sign, an email, a phone message or even a text. Over the next eight months the silence has continued. I've sent emails with no reply, gifts with no acknowledgment, and prayers seemingly with no results.
Lord, my son is a follower of yours. He says he has learned to deal with his anger but his words were so filled with rage. He seems unable to forgive. He is unwilling to even talk. Mine is a prayer without ceasing yet has no reply. A constant sorrow.
Last year my father died. What I miss the most is the sound of his voice. In the same year, I seem to have lost my son. What I miss most is the sound of his voice. God, I miss them both.