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The Prayer Seeker


somehow like to put right. It was also because of this that I am trying to get in touch with
you again, and I hope that decision isn’t too intrusive. I do apologise for any
misjudgements I may have made, though you will perhaps be used to that from me.
In closing I would like to say how much our friendship, though short-lived, did mean
to me as a young man. It would be a great gift to me if you felt able to talk with me once
more.
With very best wishes
Michael signed his name and also made a note in the letter of all his contact details,
including telephone number, address and email, which wasn’t actually a mode of
communication he used very frequently, but you never knew. He hoped that might be
enough. Then, before he could change his mind, he sealed the letter and walked out to the
post-box at the end of the road to post it. Even there he hesitated once again but, telling
himself not to be more foolish than God had undoubtedly made him, he finished the task
and walked back home to make himself tea and read the bible. Both acts helped to calm
him.
He tried not to, but he tracked the progress of the letter in his mind, even whilst
engaged in other activities: working for Anne-Marie; walking; reading; praying. It was as
if he carried with him always a high cloud or a bright stream of fire that both drew him
on and held him back. Because until he knew how Alan would react, Michael was
compelled to do nothing but wait. He was treading water and it seemed as if God, like
himself, was also waiting. So after a couple of days he decided to take the opportunity
given to him to put aside concerns for the future and to try to enjoy the moment more
fully, as far as he was able.
Taking his inspiration from Anne-Marie, he began to work in the garden more often.
He’d never been a particularly skilled gardener but the real physical effort of mowing the
grass, weeding and watering made him feel connected to the earth. He also took time to
sit and relax, enjoying the beauty around him. Whilst there, he began to meditate in a
different way as well, taking as his starting point not the words of the bible but the quiet
grace of the garden: flowers; his one apple tree; grass; earth. And beyond and over them
all the sky.
Once, about a week after he’d sent Alan the letter, he ended his outdoor meditation
by speaking aloud, not something he did often as he preferred the security of silence but
these words seemed to be pulled out of him by a greater force, not to be denied.
“If Alan’s away and hasn’t seen my letter,” he whispered, “then that’s fine. But if he
has decided or will decide not to respond to me, then that’s fine too, believe me. Have it
the way you want to, God, have it your way.”
After another moment, the sense of peace came flooding in, resolution even, and he
couldn’t stop his smile. Sometimes it was good that not everything was in his remit; God
had his responsibilities and skills too.
It was the following evening, a Friday, that Alan rang him.
Michael heard the phone ring whilst he was in the middle of cooking lamb chops and
opening a half-bottle of something red that had been on offer in the supermarket and
looked pretty much decent. Muttering to himself, he turned the stove down to simmer and
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