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The Prayer Seeker


*****
When Michael had finished his explanation, Chris let the silence settle for a while
before speaking.
“It’s all right to be angry with God,” he said. “Many people are. What interests me is
why you were angry and the reasons you made that decision.”
Michael licked his lips and looked away, through the window and into the garden
once more. “Yes, but I don’t think I can consider that for the moment. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be. Simply because an issue is raised doesn’t mean to say it needs to be
considered in depth at the very time you become aware of it. It will, I think, be something
that you will want to return to on another day.”
Later, in the car on the way home, those words flowed through Michael’s memory
and took up a small dwelling place there. However, he understood that he was not yet
ready for what they would entail.
Between Christmas and New Year, Michael found that, whether he liked it or not, he
was taking a journey back into what he had left behind, even to the parts of his life he had
been reluctant to rediscover. He enjoyed a quiet Christmas, managing to keep his more
distant relatives at bay with promises of visits in January. Odd, bearing in mind the new
and growing focus of his life, how much he actually disliked the season. The
overwhelming requirement to engage with the outside world in celebration jarred with his
expressed desire to step away into silence.
However, as Chris had pointed out, the past was always there, and needed to be
faced properly before it could be put to one side. He hadn’t done that, had he? He hadn’t
even been sure such an act was possible. No, that wasn’t strictly true, he hadn’t wanted to
do it. And the trouble with seeking silence and prayer was that the unwelcome facts of his
life he had pushed beneath the surface were beginning to resurface. Michael was starting
to realise that he didn’t have as much control over his spiritual search as he had
anticipated. The truth was that if he continued to pray and seek to pray, then God would
also be in the equation, and the power would no longer be his at all.
Nonetheless, this time he would not back away. This time he was not caught up in
anger, but cautious, though the anger remained, like a reminder of grief flickering in the
shadows.
So he took long walks in the afternoons of Christmas Day and Boxing Day, the
weather being crisp but dry. It felt good to reconnect with the earth under his feet and to
feel the breeze flowing over his skin. He took with him on these occasions the memory of
the service he had read that morning, a line or two fluttering through his head. Each day
he tired himself out and his sleep was peaceful.
The day after Boxing Day, when he was beginning to breathe more freely again, his
ex-wife Clare came to visit him. And with her some of the memories and failures he had
hoped to avoid came rushing in.
 
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