“You mean just saying the words makes you happy?” He felt silly the moment he responded. He wondered if Her eyes rolled.
“I mean remembering who we are and what lies within. It is we who have the power over ourselves; it is we who connect to Beyond.”
He wasn’t sure what She was talking about but somehow connected with Her words. All the things that pissed him off. Work, the government, the asshole in the apartment below him, the people at the grocery store. He could go on and on. Say a prayer?
“You grasp what I mean. I encourage you to try it.”
He took no notice of Her penetrating his thoughts. “You mean, say the ‘Our Father’ and see if I feel better?”
He felt a pause in Her step even though She continued forward.
“There is much power in those words. The sanctified prayers of the ages do remarkable good. Yet there are other methods. Have you ever spoken words of your own?”
“You mean, made something up?”
“I mean speak your inspiration.”
Now it was his step that paused. Inspiration? No one used that word with him. Debug a thousand-line computer program in a week? Yes. Inspiration? No. What in the world could inspire him? All that crap that he was supposed to pray about? That stuff sucked! Words tumbled through his mind; words that popped up as the images of his life cascaded through his thoughts, a jumble of words that straightened out, formed lines for reciting. Inspiration! The words sailed from his mouth like butterflies upon the wind.
“I feel so nice and blissy
I will not be so pissy
No matter who screws with me
I’ll escape to serenity.”
The giggle that escaped Her mouth was condescending, but when Her fingers interlaced with his, the gesture redeemed Her and then some. Delight returned to Her morose eyes.
“I commend your heartfelt prayer.”
He wanted to believe that was a compliment. “Heartfelt?”
At the squeeze of Her hand, a warmth flowed up his arm and throughout his body, settling in his chest.
“Your heart,” She continued. “Your words speak true to your feelings. There is power when such is spoken.”
“Power?” He liked the thread of this conversation. She raised his hand to Her lips and kissed it.
“There is great power in the prayers of the ages. There is great power in the prayers of the heart. I would that you make yourself more powerful still.” She continued walking forward but shimmied a few inches closer to him. He noticed.
“How do I do that?” he asked, as much to please himself as to please Her.
She had to feel the twitch as his glance shot toward Her.
“Escape? Escape what?”
“Escape nothing. Remove that word from your consciousness.” She sensed his confusion, pausing to allow his attention to focus.
“Unless you are in a building afire, escape is the mark of weakness. You are not of that type. Escape not to serenity. Escape not to bliss. You are of power. Stand in your power and meet what confronts you. From that serenity arises.”
They walked on in silence, weaving one edge of the path to the other, where She could place a soft hand upon the dying trees. He offered no resistance, absorbed in contemplation of the words She had spoken. “You are of power.” Never had someone said something like that to him. His throat scratched; his eyes moistened. He brought Her hand to his mouth and kissed it. Not chivalric, not sensual, but with gratitude, humbly acquiescing to Her wisdom. Thoughts swarmed through his mind, yet no words would form, no acknowledgment of Her insight until almost childish yearning produced his utterance.
“I wish someone had told me that a long time ago.”
She raised their clasped hands to caress his cheek. Her gesture was almost motherly, filled him with confidence, with strength. He guided their hands between them; She glided closer so that their arms touched as they walked.
“Too, too many live in weakness. Assured there is something better somewhere else, and their task is to get there while they pay no attention to the ground they stand upon. A better world when they change, when they heal, when they die. What a world we would live in if everyone quit treating this world as something to escape!”