Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Unspokens, and my mum's birthday

  Today would have been, I'm pretty sure, my mum's 61st birthday.  She died in June 2008 after a 3 year battle with ovarian cancer.

  During my growing up years, people used to gather in our family home on Wednesday evenings for Bible study and prayer time.  There would be ~8 to 20 people gathered in our living room.  Part of the ritual was that people shared prayer requests.  Often, during this time, people would say "I have an unspoken".  That meant they wanted folks to pray for something about which they wanted prayer but about which they did not want to share any details or specifics, not so much as the general topic or anything.

  Later, someone would be appointed to lead off the praying, and someone else to close it out, when a sufficiently long pause had developed.  Between these two, others in the group would pray.  Some people would pray for what seemed like a very long time. My mum was sometimes one of the latter.  You could tell when my mum was really engaged in her praying in these groups, as she would revert from her Seattle accent back to the Boston accent of her youth. She'd sometimes catch herself doing that, and feel very self conscious about it.

  During all this praying, usually the unspokens would get mentioned: "Father, I lift up to you Sue's unspoken request.  And also Brother Ady's unspoken". etc.

  I didn't realize it at the time, but I bet lots of people had lots of unspoken guesses about what other people's unspokens were. My mum was a very private person, and I think that probably most unspoken guesses about her unspokens were probably way off target. But I could be wrong.