Apologizing for not praying first

Published 10:41 am Monday, March 7, 2011

Here ya go, guys. It’s a little heavy, but you can only write whatcha know.

Like many of you, regardless of faith, at worship services as well as personal meditations during the week, I pray for justice in peace where there is turmoil, as well as for those who are suffering heartache and hardship.

Having lived through the devastating 1994 earthquake in Los Angeles, I empathized greatly with the terror of the residents of New Zealand and prayed mightily for the rescue of those trapped beneath the rubble.

Yet sometimes, particularly while watching the news, I feel annoyance at the plight of others: in particular, the American crew of the yacht, ‘the Quest,’ who were recently kidnapped in the Indian Ocean near the African coast.

“Why on earth did they break away from the convoy of yachts they were sailing with?” I said disdainfully to Paul as we listened to Brian Williams relay the latest reports of their fate.

“It makes no sense! They knew those waters are full of pirates – they even emailed friends about the dangers of going that route.”

“Certainly irresponsible,” Paul agreed.

“And putting not only themselves at risk but those who are going to have to go rescue them,” I finished, shaking my head with something akin to smug satisfaction.

As the days passed, the same impatience reared its ugly head upon hearing every update.

I’m sorry to say I even remarked, “All these people who go snowboarding or mountain climbing off the trails, all these people who go sailing in waters infested with pirates, they should just be told that if they’re going to take such risks, they shouldn’t expect to be rescued. It’s not fair on everyone else involved!”

As if I had never ridden countless horses without wearing a helmet or driven far too fast for conditions. As if all the careless things I’ve done in my life wouldn’t have ramifications for my friends and family.

It was Tuesday morning that found me mucking out the stable when the bulletin came in over the radio that rested on top of a tack trunk: “The four Americans kidnapped by Somalian pirates have been murdered.”

I don’t know why I gasped. I do know I set down my pitchfork and leaned heavily against the door of my horse’s stall, frozen in the silence that is not uncommon at six in the morning. And what came next was the sharp, sudden, realization that I had never prayed for their safe release.

Never even thought to wish them well.

Simply judged and condemned them for my perceived recklessness of their behavior. And now there was nothing left to do but stew in the well-deserved guilt that rested squarely on my shoulders.

It does little good, at this point, to be sorry, Jean, Scott, Phyllis and Bob. But I am, deeply.

Forgive me.

Comedienne Pam Stone writes her column for The Tryon Daily Bulletin twice each month from her office at her home in Gowensville.

Want a chance to respond to this column? Go to Pam’s blog at www.tryondailybulletin.com.