Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Strange Sentiments

Is it OK to ask God to bless your truck? I guess so ... even though it would never occur to me that a truck needs a blessing. Maybe that truck doesn't run so well, or needs an oil change. Maybe the tires are bald. Or maybe whoever drives the truck is worried about traffic, road rage or something.

Sights like this always make me wonder.

Growing up I was taught that it's improper (or maybe impolite?) to ask God for anything. We were told to praise God and give thanks for all our good fortunes. Fast forward several decades to when I studied Judaism - who knew that actually it's perfectly OK to ask God for all kinds of things! It was a revelation not only about Judaism but about my family, too. Oh yeah!

Of course, there are ethical rules around prayers of request. For instance, if, as you drive into your neighborhood, you see firetrucks and smoke in the distance, you're not supposed to pray that it's not your house that's on fire. The Rabbi said what's done is done. It's not right to ask that it be undone. Also, this kind of prayer is a way of asking God to make sure it's someone else's house that's going up in smoke. That's not very nice, is it?

It's fine, though, to pray for the people whose house is burning, to ask that they find a way to access the resources, strength and courage they need to deal with whatever is happening. Elegant, I think. It also seems so much more practical, not to mention compassionate, than any "please, not ME" kind of prayer.

Every day these days, I'm using the structure of the daily Amidah prayer, except I'm free-forming the content. It goes like this: stand up (Amidah means "standing"), quietly but audibly ask God to open your eyes so you can see. Then say six prayers of praise, six prayers of request and six prayers of thanksgiving. The Amidah, too, is an elegant structure for prayer.

What I experience, every time I stand and pray, is that there is a receptivity to anything I might want to say or ask of the Almighty Eternal Wisdom and Love that is far more than a sum of its infinite parts. I always sense that this Unimaginably Great Wisdom and Love (I call it God) is ready to listen and respond, lend comfort, guidance and compassion. When God speaks to me, He says, "Go ahead. Say whatever's on your mind. I'll listen, and maybe I can even help. Anytime, my dear." God is such a good guy, really He is.

Given my experience, it probably is perfectly fine to ask God to bless your truck. Why not? But ... to announce it with a decal on the back window? What's that all about?


Barbara said...

Maybe you should have been a rabbi. This makes so much sense. Hey, maybe it's not too late!

Are you sure you don't work for Homeland Security? :)

Reya Mellicker said...

That's what the cabdriver of the "Trust" cab company asked me when he saw me taking a picture of his trunk.

In my own way, I am a rabbi, priest, monk, priestess, mystic, shaman. Just like everyone. We're all holy.

That means no one is holier than thou! Remember!!

Hammer said...

Is it OK to ask God to bless your truck?

HELL YES it's okay!!!

Divine protection has several advantages over Allstate, not the least of which is cost.

What's the decal all about? Silly Reya, the decal is a AAA sticker for the faithfully uninsured!

Lee's River/Zlatovyek said...

couldn't help it: when I read the word Trust on the car, it came out as "I rust". So maybe the decal is about asking God "please keep my truck nice and shiny forever and ever, or at least until I've finished paying for it, amen."

(Personally, I like your Amidah approach much better than decals)

Pod said...


Reya Mellicker said...

P O D !!!

OK Hammer, were you the predictable irrationality that made this truck owner buy the decal? You KNOW you were!

God bless that truck
God bless rust
God bless bloggers


Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

I do like the sound of the structure of the Amidah prayer - think I'll try it since history and conditioning always seem to get in my way.

Steve said...

That IS a very strange decal, when you think about it.

I don't really pray these days, at least not in terms of directing a specific message at a higher power. I guess I just try to be aware of things. Maybe I should pray more, though!

Hel said...

"That means no one is holier than thou! Remember!!"

I will remember o holy one.

What about a god bless this holy shoe prayer?

Reya Mellicker said...

I'm all for it, hele!

Today I was wondering, do the people who own the truck have signs all over their house? "God Bless This Sink", "God Bless the TV," "God Bless the Microwave," etc.

It would be nervewracking, trying to get a sign on everything, wouldn't it? "God bless the dog's chew toy." And on and on! Forever!


Reya Mellicker said...

Maybe what the decal really means is "I am Christian and want all of you to know about it."

That's an easier theory to buy than the idea of signs all over their house.

phd girl said...

I saw a "bless this mess" sign in the foyer of a house once.

phd girl said...

it was next to a round tuit sign.

LadrĂ³n de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

If it had said "Goddess Bless This Truck" I'd have liked it a lot more. Which reminds me of my all time favorite bumper sticker on an SUV driven by a soccer mom "My Next Husband Is Going to Be Normal".