Friday, December 28, 2007

Reframing (with the Stones in Mind)

Well, I knew it had to happen sooner or later. Indeed, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened sooner.

Outside the Chapel in my hospital, there is a Prayer Box mounted on the wall. Small sheets and a pen are provided, and people leave prayers there. They are collected regularly, and become part of both services and my own daily prayers.

Human beings being who and as we are, I was not terribly surprised, or even terribly disturbed, when I took out this “prayer request:” “I need to get laid.”

Well, there it was. In several years with the box in place, that was actually the first really inappropriate request. Oh, I’ve had illegible scrawls from children (and, I think, not a few adults), with only a name or two readable. But, I’ve not had this one, nor any like it.

I thought about what to do. The person who wrote it obviously needed prayer, if perhaps not what was specifically requested. So, I simply reframed the request. Humming faintly, “You can’t always get what you want,” I wrote below the request, “Prayer for healthy, wholesome relationships as God would wish.”

Now, while I don’t know, I imagine the reaction of the original requester would be negative. Believing as I do that God does answer prayer, I imagine this person will have opportunities for grace-filled relationships – relationships that may not result in “getting laid.” Still, I’m called to pray for God’s will for the person, and not simply the requester’s own. And in that light, I think I reframed it properly. Now, it would be interesting to see how God takes care of this one.


Mary Sue said...

This is where doing time in a penticharisbapticostal church does me some good, as the Bishop there once told a small group of us "I had a young man come to me and say, 'Preacher, I need to get laid.' And I told that young man, 'That's right, son, you do!' And I laid hands upon him and prayed over him and he got himself the Holy Spirit and was layed out on the floor for a good twenty minutes, and he came back up praising Jesus!"

Of course, if that same young man had come to my current priest, she would have probably laid hands upside his head and smacked him into next week, but she's a grandmother as well as a former school administrator...

Marshall Scott said...

Thanks very much for that, mary sue. I think either might have been appropriate responses.

Christopher said...

Fr. Marshall,

I think you reframed this quite appropriately. After all, the need to "get laid" at a deeper level is a need for intimacy and good relationships, though I suppose you're right that the requester would find that assertion dubious.