As MC Hammer Said - We Pray . . .

I had someone ask me the other day, rather pointedly (and deservedly), WHY I was converting to Judaism. The answer to that question is no more or less simple than any other "why" question people have asked me in the last year so I turned it back on them . . . Why do YOU think I am?

Their response was less than inspiring . . . "Attention." Yep. True story. My cynicism and my narcissistic nature have officially become a perfect storm of open loathing from my friends and fellow man. I was more than happy to a) catch my breath b) tell them that my reasons (plural) were a little less selfish than they had presumed. Then I mumbled something about their mother and Honey Nut Cheerios. But they offered one more theory . . . you have "found" G-d. Nope. I was raised Catholic. I "found" G-d at conception (just ask my parents) and have never once questioned the presence of a force/being bigger and smarter than any of us and have also never (even in my aforementioned ego) once questioned that everything in my life (good, bad, ugly) has happened for a reason and to keep me on a path of my larger life.

So WHY become a Jew? I started talking trash about the Catholic Church in my early teen years and have, admittedly, been very critical of almost all organized religions and a good chunk of people that feel they must carry their faith in to their daily interactions in often uncomfortable ways. (Example "Have you heard the good news? He is risen.") So why (I have blogger's ADD, clearly) . . . simple. I need some focus in my prayer.

Yes. The DIRTY little secret in my life (okay, one of several hundred) is that I am a prayer (as in someone who prays - not the utterances of those that do it). Let my friend Kosha Dillz play as you read on . . .

I've never prayed to any particular G-d. I've never really focused on the Santa Claus Wish List Prayer Camp  (Jesus, please bring/give/allow/afford me . . . ). I've never made prayer about me or what I want. I've always made it about what I NEED. Simple prayers have been my guide "Please help me make sense of ________." "If you could help me understand _________." "I would appreciate if I could be given some context for __________." Sure. I fill in those blanks with the occasional selfish want. Okay - I semi-regularly make it about selfish wants. I'm human. If the Judeo-Christian model is correct, "he" wants me to be a little fallible anyway, right?

Anywho - one of the many reasons I want to fully endorse and be accepted in to the Jewish religion/tradition/culture/approach to life and faith is that I want focus in my prayers. One of my biggest failures as a Catholic (yes, I'll own this) is that I never read the bible. I never really bothered to learn how the Old Testament and New Testament really worked together. I never went beyond simply MEMORIZING the prayers and the commandments and the doctrines. I never allowed them to be absorbed in to my life so I could say "No worries on why my wife and I lost this pregnancy, big guy. I get why based on ______ in your Good Book."

As a full grown adult, I need a way to get focus. I'm ready NOW to allow a religion to be my baseline. My jumping off point. My peaceful place. I figure there is no religion in the world more maligned, misunderstood, put-upon, or tested from-which to draw some basic perspective and it is, just a few months in to the conversion process, paying huge dividends for me. I honestly think all the challenges that have fallen in to my life the last six - nine months would have easily overwhelmed me a few years and certainly a decade ago.

Prayer allows me to just be quiet, to focus, and to ask for appreciation for the good, learning from the bad, patience for the delayed, and perspective for the confusing. Prayer allows me to know that it will all be "fine" and that it will all be "okay" and that - as I've said 1,000,000 times in the last few days . . . This too shall pass.

I'm sorta' at a loss for how to close this post out so I'll leave it in the hands of Canada's Next Poet Laureate in his song Pray. "I close my eyes and pray. I close my eyes and I can see a better day." - Justin Bieber