Monday, October 24, 2011

Once Is Enough

You know what I find myself doing a lot of these days? Repeating prayers. Repeating prayers for my dad, repeating prayers for my friends, repeating prayers for myself.

I can try and blame it on my short term memory, which is definitely going (I’d rather my memory than, say, my eyesight.)

A lot of my time has been consumed lately with Striped Tiger. Last Monday found me in the conference room of a mid-sized talent agency, guzzling free Diet Coke, and pitching an hour long TV version of Striped Tiger.

Striped Tiger started as my first full length play, then I turned it into a feature length script. Last Monday I and two producers went into the conference room with an hour long version. Walking into an agency conference room is something I haven’t done before in my career, and so I asked for lots and lots of prayer ahead of time.

And driving down there, I kept repeating over and over again, please be with me, God. Please be with me, God. Please give me wisdom and discernment. Please let me personable and knowledgeable. And no matter what the outcome is, give me the grace to accept it. Even if it’s not what I hoped for.

Over and over and over again. Please be with me, God. Please be with me, God.

Until at one point, I had to stop and ask myself. “Why am I repeating myself? What, do I think that God didn’t hear me the first time?”

Why do we endlessly punch the elevator button? The crosswalk button? Why do we endlessly repeat the same prayer? Why do priests give out penance in the form of multiple Hail Marys? Is there comfort in the repetition? Like maybe God wouldn’t have granted the prayer UNLESS I said it ten times? I only said it nine, so nope, no go?

Of course it doesn’t work that way. But for a split second, it felt like it.

I pray repeatedly when I don’t know what else to say, so I just say the same thing over and over again, like a verbal security blanket. God heard me the first time. But I didn’t believe it the first time.

The problem isn’t me worrying God didn’t hear me. The problem is that I don’t believe that praying once is enough. I’ve got to believe in the power of my own prayer. And that once is enough.

We came out of the conference room with the order to make Striped Tiger a half hour show. My joke is that the only format left from here on out are five minute webisodes, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the next order.

And as I drove back through the city to work, jacked up on free Diet Coke, all I could think of was an endless string of prayer:

Thank you God, thank you. Thank you God, thank you. Thank you God, thank you.

Once is enough. More makes me feel better, but once is enough.

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