And yet again sometimes in no language at all because I “say” it in my head.
After 30 years of doing so — well, the first 10 I prayed a few times a day right before I knew I was in trouble, but I'm sure that does not count as genuine praying — anyhow, after roughly 30 years of praying in my shower and in different languages, I have never felt that God has heard and understood me any more or less than anybody else!
I have the outmost respect for all religions and all those who practice them as long as they extend the same courtesy to others and to me. I also try to extend the same respect to myself by practicing my faith as it feels true to my heart.
My explanation is simple.
I believe in God.
I'm not too concerned with God's gender, although in my mind I think of him as a gentle, understanding, and yet firm but loving Grandpa. So, I usually refer to him as a male, at least in my mind. As for proof of his existence, I no longer need books, or human clarifications, no one person, religious or otherwise, has ever given me a good enough answer anyway. So as proof to his existence, I take a deep breath and look around me. His essence is everywhere, and for me that's enough.
I do not pray in Arabic for the very simple reason that I do not speak the language. Sure I have memorized a few prayers over the years, but it's a simple regurgitation of words I do not understand. How genuine is that? The other prayers I know from my Catholic school years may as well be in Arabic too, for they feel no more authentic. I give my family, my friends, and even my co-workers the courtesy of speaking to them in a language I understand, and I always attempt to remain true to my thoughts and beliefs in my interactions, why would I not extend the same honesty when communicating with my God? My words, my tone, and my emotions evolve, both in life and in my “talks” with him.
Some days my shoulders are heavy with regret, some days I stand tall and proud. Some days I'm filled with impatience, and sometimes I feel happy and in harmony. So the verbiage and the language of my prayers change, as I change. Some days I even forget to say anything at all, but I figure that if my parents can forgive my not calling them everyday, God has to be at least that forgiving. However, if I go to him for help during bad times, I make sure to go to him during good times to say thanks. I try to do the same with my family and loved ones.
As for a guideline for humanity, I no longer need pages and pages of interpretation. It's simple, I rely on integrity, good intentions, and being kind and giving. I do mess up sometimes, but overall I'd say my batting average isn't too bad!
As for tonight, I guess I'm praying in my robe, in English, sitting behind my computer. I'm grateful for parents who love me, a brother who spoils me, and for seeing myself reflected in the eyes of a man who understands me. I'm thankful for my friends, for a healthy body and a curious mind. I'd say that if life itself is a measure, I feel not only heard but very well understood.
I fear not, I look forward to meeting him one day. To thank him for the adventure of my life, to apologize for my mistakes in person, to give him a hug, and to hopefully hear him say that I'd done a'right! And where I'll go from there? I'll just have to wait and see where he sends me.