A friend called and said she had found a lump under her arm. Carelessly, to deflect her from her own worst thinking, the kind of black hole into which we are all prone to tumble, I said: ‘I’ll launch into all those impenetrable Catholic prayers found in the Racolta and litanies of obscure saints, that’ll sort this out.’ She laughed, nervously. Nothing much else to be said.
She went off to see specialists, have tests and wait for results, I sat and prayed hard, stumbling over prayers, distracted, bored, worrying, unconfident, bumbling, reciting by rote, airless, dull, persisting.
And the lump was found to be a harmless cyst. She is convinced the prayers worked. I believe prayers ‘work’ but often not in ways we are able to grasp.