I have dated my share of unbelievers. Been friends with a lot of them too. Still are friends with them. I've had my faith questioned and been laughed at when the only thing I can say about why I believe and pray is, "I just do." I thought about prayer over the past few days a good bit and how it affects me and my perceptions of reality.
I was raised Baptist. Eventually, I stopped buying into all the preaching and singing and whatnot. I started seeing myself as someone that believes but isn't actively practicing. When I feel like everything is on top of me, I will stop, breathe and pray. I don't know is someone is listening, but as an only child from a less than normal home life, it's nice to think that someone out there can hear me and cares.
I began praying more lately, mostly at the request of a friend. She was having some guy troubles and wanted me to keep her in my thoughts. When I pray for her and the situation, I pray first and foremost that she finds peace of mind and heart. Then, I pray that the young man will have a moment of clarity and do what is best for him and my friend. I find that prayers work best when you really pray for the important stuff first and the extra things that would make the primary request that much better. I want her to find happiness very much because she and I share an odd bond, so in a way, it's a bit of my happiness, too.
Don't get me wrong. I am very happy with Tim. If you had told me 4 years ago, before my last long relationship began that I would be dating Tim; I would have laughed. As we all know, time and pain changes people. I am not the girl I was 4 years ago. I am harder and braver and stronger. My heart has not faltered though. I had misplaced faith for a period of time or two, but I am always working to have my heart and mind in the right place.
I still have friends ask me about how time and people have affected my faith. I have thought about it a lot. Some people have to see things to know they are real. Some people have to feel things to believe. Some people can look into the void and see boundless potential. Some people will only look if they have heard something strike the bottom. No one is right or wrong. It all boils down to what helps that person sleep at night.
Me, I still pray that my heart will one day be fully mended. I pray my friends are safe. I pray my parents are ok. I ask for the simple things. In return, I have been blessed with the chance to go back to school and do it right for the last time. I have friends who care for me and parents who, in their own way, love me. I have a boyfriend who doesn't care if I answer the door in pjs or a dress because he's just happy to see me.
I think for all the pain life can give, if you just believe that there are better days ahead of you, life will turn around and give you moments of happiness that scrub away the dark tint of pain. If you believe in a Higher Power, then thank Him. If you believe in the fates, thank them. If you believe in nothing, then, well...thank chance or whatever.
Never be ungrateful though.