There were lots of folks who had no idea of “where I was” when I was in the hospital. They did not know if I were dying or thriving. Many have no concept of the incisions that were made, the tubes running out of my face and bag they attached. Yet even though they didn’t know exactly “where I was”---they prayed for me---they prayed because they knew that I was not where I wanted to be and my family was scared. To them I could have been in Iraqastahn for all they knew. Actually I was in Anniston. But the prayers were still important. I don’t know where you are when you are in mourning. I’m not sure exactly of where you are when you are in fear or grief or depression. I have a vague concept of what it might feel like to be in those far away, dark, scary places….but I really don’t know where you are. Just knowing you are there and it is bad is enough. I know it’s not “home”. So I pray. Often my words to you and even my words for you are as innocent and naive as praying for the people in Iraqastahn. My feeble words demonstrate that I really have no clue. But they also demonstrate to you that I do care for you even if I don’t fully understand where you are. I know I really don’t have to know where you are exactly to know enough to pray for you.
I have determined to feel different when a person offers words of comfort that are inept. I have determined to react pleasantly when the words are trite or condescending. I have determined that people really don’t have to know where Iraqastahn is to pray for the people who might be there. I have also determined that even though I don’t know where you are exactly---or even who you are exactly---if I get the idea that you’ve had to travel through Iraqastahn then I’m going to pray for you until you get back.