It’s not often I get to be an answer to prayer.

I guess that’s not entirely true. My very life is an answer to prayer, to the request of two lonely souls, old for the time for a child, asking their god for a miracle. And so I was born, my mom aged 35 and not supposed to be able to bear children any longer, my father already an old man of 50.

They were expecting a Downs Syndrome baby, or someone deaf or challenged. And so, I suppose I started life as an answer to prayer, born healthy and strong and smart, with bad eyes but passable hearing and with a full compliment of limbs and fingers and toes.

I was on a date with Wash today. We were talking about faith, and god, and the song “Hallelujah” came on the radio. Wash teared up… It’s a song that always makes him cry.

It’s one of the few songs left that make me feel there might, still, maybe, be a god somewhere. “How Great Thou Art” is another one. But, mostly, the hymns leave me sad. They feel empty, with no faith to fill their sails. But “Hallelujah”, that one gets me, every time. Especially if k d lang is singing it. The passion in her voice, the simple instrumentation, it becomes an anthem to us lonely souls here below, longing for the faith we’ve lost and left behind.

It’s not a cry that you hear at night, it’s not someone who’s seen the light, it’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah

My mother spent last night pacing the floor. It’s been an awful couple of months for her. She had the flu, which turned into pneumonia, and caused her to lose her voice. I thought we were going to lose her. For a few weeks, her skin was the awful, deathly grey-green that I remember all to well from my father’s last few months. She wouldn’t eat, and wouldn’t leave her apartment, and I was genuinely scared that one day, I’d go up to visit her and find her dead.

I’m not ready to lose her yet I’d think, over and over again. And I hope she’s still breathing when I go up there. Best to go first, in case she’s gone, so the kids don’t find her, and see her like that.

It maybe sounds overdramatic, but I was in the depths of my own depression. And losing my mom was the last thing I could have handled at the time.

I forced her to keep her drs appointment, just before New Years, and drove he there myself. Because to add insult to injury, her silly little red truck had stopped working. She got on antibiotics, and steroids, and she is -mostly- well once more.

But depressed, and unable to leave the house because of that stupid truck and the idiot mechanic she trusted to look after it.

So last night, angry at her god, and pacing the floor, full of worry about her truck, and praying for something to give. While I, in the background, was calling her preacher, and making arrangements for her church to care for her.

They got her to bible study this morning, and her truck to a mechanic they trusted. Whatever you do, Don, I said last night, she can’t know it was me that called you. Fix it, will you, so she doesn’t know I was behind this.

$2000 is what she has spent on that worthless mechanic. And he didn’t check the most basic thing – her battery. It was a dead battery causing all this angst. When she went to pay the bill, she found it already paid for, the men of the church doing, for once, what they were supposed to do, and caring for a widow and seeing to the needs of their flock.

And thirty-four years after my birth, I got to be an answer to my mothers prayer, again, to a god I’m not sure I even believe in any more.



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