This is a serial about love and awakening. Click here to start with Part One.
This blog, “Sex Love Enlightenment,” just started being featured on the Huffington Post. In order for the posts on HP to catch up with the installments posted here, we’re going to take a two week intermission from the story of Billy The Bad. It’s far from over – it gets more surprising, funny and juicy. So please be patient. In the meantime, I’ll be posting other stories in the same arena.
CAN YOU PRAY FOR LOVE?
Let me tell you about Verlean Holland. I met her while researching the article I wrote for Oprah magazine on people who find love late. Verlean was 66 when we spoke, an African-American living in the Bronx, New York. She had been alone for 15 years after her husband died, but she was always busy with her work for the Board of Education, her church and her grandchildren. Several years ago, because of budget cuts, she lost her job testing children in special ed.
She lay down on her bed one night and said out loud: “Lord, I am sooo lonely. Please send me someone who will love me just for me, and I will love him for himself.” She prayed for a husband who shared her faith and “could go to church with me. That’s what I wanted most.”
Does it make sense to pray for love?
“Prayer is under-rated in Buddhist circles,” I was told by a teacher at Naropa University, which was founded by Buddhists. What he meant was that in prayer, you’re engaging with what you hold as divine, or greater than the personal self. According to Larry Dossey, who wrote the book on prayer, the least powerful prayer is one that asks for something specific for oneself. The most powerful is, “Thy will be done.” But any form of prayer can be a powerful means of clarifying and fixing your intention. Which doesn’t mean you’ll get what you pray for. As the philosopher Mick Jagger sang, “You Get What You Need.”
In Verlean’s case, the answer to her prayer was under her nose. A man in her extended circle, Rodney Holland, called “Pop” by friends and family, had recently lost his son in a car crash. Pop had befriended Verlean’s youngest son, Tyrone, when Verlean’s oldest son was killed in a shooting. Pop, a retired postal worker, had been coming to Verlean’s house every Thanksgiving and New Year’s, but she’d paid him no attention. “He was a friend of my baby,” she explains. Her friends would tease: “That man likes you.” Verlean would say, “No, he don’t.”
On New Year’s Eve of 2004, Pop came to dinner at Verlean’s, as he had for years, and everyone went to church and then a party. Verlean couldn’t stand the loud rap music, so Pop escorted her home. Then he started calling and taking her to movies. After a few weeks, he said, “We’re too old to be datin’. I want a wife, not a girlfriend.”
Did you accept right away? I asked.
“Oh, yes. I wasn’t going to let him get away.” They already knew and loved each other’s children and grandkids. “Looking back,” Verlean says, “it was like a cake that had to be baked up. The man knew me, and I knew who he was. I liked his gentleness, and he treated me with high respect.” At their church wedding, all their offspring and siblings walked down the aisle.
BUT… Then came the dilemma of getting what you pray for.
Pop moved into Verlean’s apartment, “and that was horrible,” she says. “That first year was haaaard. I’m used to doing things my way. I’m used to cleanin’ and pickin’ up. He doesn’t clean and pick up. He likes to watch TV. I don’t like TV,” she says.
It took her many months to come to terms with the situation. “I realized: I love him a lot, and he loves me a lot. Let me accept him the way he is — that’s what I asked for. Stop screamin’ about little things and just adapt.”
They set up a day room for Pop with his TV, “and I have my own room where I can pray and listen to gospel music,” Verlean says. She’s grateful to have someone “to grow old with. I escort him to the doctor and he escorts me. One of the best parts for Verlean is that “we go to church together. I like to dress up, but at first he was casual. I told him, ‘A man needs to be in a suit on Sunday.'”
And so he is.
TO BE CONTINUED
Please leave a comment. Is prayer the same as the law of attraction? Do you practice and/or believe in either?
This blog is based on a true story, but I’ve changed names and identifying details to protect privacy. I’ve also, in a few cases, compressed time or altered elements to serve the narrative.