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The Prayer Seeker

He smiled at that. “In some ways I always have been, and more especially cautious
with my own. Perhaps now is the time to take a risk or two, as long as I have my eyes
open and am prepared to back off. I really don’t want to hurt anyone, not more than I’ve
done so already.”
Anne-Marie’s expression cleared. “Yes, you’re probably right. I’m just not one to
look back, I’m all for looking forward. What do you think, Derek?”
The volunteer coordinator had been silent during the conversation, but now he
cleared his throat and glanced at Michael.
“Sometimes you have to do both,” he said. “Look back in order to go forward again,
if you see what I mean. And if you’re serious about searching for this Alan chap, then I
think I know someone who might be able to help you: a retired policeman who does the
odd volunteer project for me, but who still keeps up his links from his former job. I could
ask him for you, if you liked.”
And with that simple offer, the decision was made. Michael offered his thanks,
which Derek waved away, and then lunch time was over and Anne-Marie had to get back
to work.
On the way home, Michael’s thoughts were humming, sifting in and out of his
consciousness like determined insects. He could not tell whether he was frightened or
pleased with the way events had turned out. Perhaps both. He knew one thing however;
he knew he needed to pray, and open himself to God. Because if he shut himself off, or
tried to as even the concept of hiding from God was a foolish one, then he would be lost
again, or at the very least mislaid for a while.
At home, he took his bible and sat in the chair in the living room where he found it
easiest to pray. There he waited, quietening his mind until he could feel the peace in his
bones. This was what he loved most: the time when everything around him slipped away,
no matter its demands, and he could be himself, most open to God, and most alive. No
words were needed for his meditation, this strange connection, and after a while and
another while, he opened his bible and found the verses he wanted in St Luke, those that
were echoing in his head:
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and
the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and
to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
He mouthed them under his breath over and over again, feeling the simplicity of
everything he tried so hard to make complicated easing through him like sunlight. The
words made him smile, they clarified his response to what had happened today, and
where his hopes were leading him. At the same time, he found the tune of the old chorus
based on these words, a memory from his time in the evangelical church, coming to him
once more and, strangely, steadying him. Something from his religious past that didn’t
cause him pain, so it had not in fact been all bad then and he would have to learn to
widen his view of God once more, and perhaps that fact, that acceptance of history, might
also give him hope for the future, as the words themselves did. He hoped so, he trusted
That night, his sleep was the most restful it had ever been, preparing him, he knew,
for what was to come.