My Problem With Prayer

Really? You prayed for me so I can come back to this?

Aside from Tony Soprano, some serial killers and most Deltas, everyone loves their mom. In fact, you can hate any and every thing from kittens to your own kids, but nothing would garner the type of response a person would get when admitting they hate their own mother.

Anyway, everyone loves their mom. But, not everyone has a mom who everyone loves, and I happen to be one of the people who do. I was aware of this even before she first fell ill—I’ve (half)jokingly mentioned many times that my friends like my parents more than they like me—and the avalanche of love and support she’s received has reminded me.

Much of this love and support has come in the form of prayer. People praying for her, praying with her, and even suggesting special prayers for situations like this. In fact, tonight I searched for “mom” in Gmail and looked at emails and Gchats I received around the time people first found out she was ill. Every single person who contacted me mentioned something about prayer.

While this has definitely—definitely—been appreciated by my mother and the rest of my family, this situation has reinforced the disconnect I’ve always had with prayer in general and prayer specifically for ill people in particular.

Now, I’m (obviously) not a theological scholar. But, I do know that Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all offer their true believers some form of an afterlife. And, in each case, the afterlife is a much, much, much better version of Earth.

If Christians, Jews, and Muslims believe this to be true, why pray for a sick person’s health to get better? I understand praying for their souls and salvation if they do happen to pass away, but if whatever comes after Earth is an unfathomably awesome version of all the best things we experience here, why would you want someone to get better so that they have to stay on shitty ole Earth a second longer than they have to?

Interestingly enough, this disconnect hasn’t altered my prayers in any way. I’m a Christian, and I believe in Heaven. I also want my mom to get better, and I’ll continue to do what I can to make sure that happens. This includes prayer, which may or may not help—the murky waters of God’s will is another theoretical pickle, but that’s another topic for another day—but what’s the harm in doing it anyway?

But, if I truly believe what I say I believe, wanting my mom to get better is a selfish want. An honorable and socially acceptable want, but selfish nonetheless. Perhaps this is where the disconnect occurs. Maybe I’m missing something, but if Heaven exists and if I believe Heaven exists, all this prayer for my mom is just me, in a roundabout way, praying for me.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

getting the gift: life’s five best unexpected rewards

rewards

while we all know that life is like a box of chocolates, everyone has a moment or two when it seems like that chocolate box is filled with catsh*t, especially in the TET (ms. smart, 2008). to deal with our trials and tribulations, life has a way of giving us unexpected rewardssimple daily smiles that can easily turn a melancholy day to mediocre, and a mediocre day to magnificent.

as another example of vsb.com’s crime-fighting commitments, here are five of the champ’s favorite.

1. free food

while pearly gates, endless bliss, and easy white women sound plenty enticing, my idea of heaven is an endless loop of a “hey, everybody; don’t worry about lunch. i ordered some pizza, wings, and beer” message from the boss during a staff meeting on one of those end of the month thursdays when your checking account is asking “if i cut the pink off the two week old mystery pasta in the breakroom fridge, i wont get sick, right?“.

(btw, by “the boss” i totally meant “stacey dash”. this is heaven, right?)

2. finding money

whether its on the ground, in your coat pocket, or a forgotten about revenue stream from the t-shirts you sell on your website, there aren’t many things better than finding unexpected money in an unexpected place.

sh*t, just last week i cheesed for an hour after finding a dollar in the trunk of my truck and cried for another hour after getting rebuffed at the wendy’s drive thru for being six cents short for a junior bacon cheeseburger

3. a compliment from a stranger

after getting home after a particularly rough day at work a couple months ago, i walked a couple blocks to the walnut street shopping district to window shop and clear my head when a somewhat milfy middle aged woman complimented me, saying that my “glasses were nice”. who cares that she may have been homeless and that there’s a good chance she actually said “the masses have lice!”, it made me happy, and that’s all that really counts.

4. randomly seeing an extremely physically attractive person

even those in purgatory serious committed relationships can still appreciate and acknowledge the unexpected potential mood boost of accidentally seeing a dime in line at pepboys or behind the counter at popeyes. you don’t have to own the land to appreciate the view.

5. finding something on the sales rack that actually fits

because of my waist (36), shirt (l or xl), and shoe (12) sizes, finding something on sale that actually fits me is harder than roman polanski watching degrassi high. seriously, its like deals at men’s clothing stores are only for midgets and men built like dejuan blair. i’m usually so surprised to find something that fits that i assume there’s something wrong with it, a phenomenon which usually ends with me just staring at a pair of jeans for fifteen minutes like it’s actually going to say “yeah, n*gga; you don’t wanna buy me. my right leg is longer than my left and my crotch area itches worse than courtney love. leave my skinny ass on the rack. wait…why the hell is your black ass in h&m anyway??

thats it for now. people of vsb.com, did i miss anything, and when was the last time you got one of life’s unexpected rewards?

the carpet is yours and sh*t

—the champ