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The Prayer Seeker


what is it the bible says? Some are born eunuchs; others are made that way by men; and
others because of the kingdom of heaven. You’re one of the latter kind, aren’t you?
Single at heart because of God. I think I always knew that, even from the very
beginning.”
“Do you still go to church then?” Michael asked before he could stop himself.
“Either way, the quotation is impressive.”
Alan gazed at him, frowning as if deep in thought. “Just something I always
remembered from my past. And no, I still believe, but I haven’t gone to church for years
although, after today, perhaps I might. You a lways did have a way of widening my view
in terms of God, Michael. Despite everything, the way you witness to our great Maker
was never in doubt.”
Michael didn’t see how anyone could ever say that, but something told him disputing
it would be meaningless. If it were true, then God must surely work in ways that were
invisible to the human heart; it was a mystery incapable of resolution in this life. And
that, in essence, was the feeling Michael left with; some things resolved and other things
open to change. History rediscovered and the glimmer of a future. Not for him and Alan,
oh no, because in the end he knew neither of them wanted that and in the shaking of
hands at the restaurant exit he sensed finality, and even welcomed it.
When he stepped out into the city air, he was once more alone, but not quite so.
All these months of prayer and thought, considering his past, his present and his
future and now Michael is here. It’s a Wednesday in May. He’s sitting in the sun in one
of the Quiet Gardens that Chris has told him about during their recent sessions. It hasn’t
been too far to drive here, only twenty minutes, and already he knows he will come
again.
When he arrived, about an hour and a half ago, the lady who greeted him showed
him where the bathroom was and where he could make coffee and tea, and directed him
through the library into the garden. He was grateful that she didn’t say much but that, he
supposes, is the nature of having a quiet garden in the first place as the need for talking
lies elsewhere. When he walked through, he didn’t stop to browse through the small
supply of books, mainly religious, he supposes, but came straight out to the garden and
sat on a seat thoughtfully provided under an overgrown apple tree far more established
than his own. He’s been there ever since, apart from a brief sortie to the kitchen for a cup
of tea, though he decided against any biscuits. He’s brought his own lunch, and plans to
eat it later.
Neither is he entirely alone. Apart from the hostess, whose name is Margaret, there
are three other men and two women who are spending this day apart with him. There is
space enough for all. Indeed they don’t talk much together, only the odd polite word here
and there, and Michael is glad it’s not a group event. This silence, accompanied by
others, enriches him. In that silence, God dwells, as near as He’s ever been, and Michael
half- wonders if soon he will attend another Quaker meeting and perhaps even appear a t
his Anglican church more regularly. The possibility is certainly there, and for both
decisions, not just one of them: God is encompassing enough for that. It’s almost as if,
 
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