I made a promise that I would send each night’s words out as a way to keep accountability, to keep myself moving forward. And tonight you will see what happens when threads don’t line up. There is a hiccup as I try to meet Lana for the first time. I had not expected to meet her praying in a church during lunch break. I don’t know what she is doing there. But this is what it looks like when the story loses a thread. Searching. Contradiction. Searching.
She wasn’t much to look at. Thin face lined with anxiety. Big nervous eyes that moved constantly in search of things that could not be seen. She was a nervous person with arms and hands that never seemed to stop moving or be at rest.
She was not a particularly devout person, though she was praying in chapel during her lunch break. Alone except for the old women who came to restock the candles, trim the wicks, dust the railings, smooth the sacristy cloth.
Lana did not speak to these women, silently willing them to disappear so she could be completely alone with her difficulty. She did not belong here. She was raised Catholic but had fallen out of church while still in high school and had never managed to fall back in.
It was a man. It was always a man. That was the problem. From one miserable relationship to the next, each man more disappointing and diminishing than the one before. It was pathetic, really. The way her life moved from sequence to sequence without ever really seeming to stop and wonder at what she was doing. It was tiresome, tedious. Lana hated being here, prostrating herself every day at noon but she knew no other way. It was change she sought most fervently and afternoon prayer was the only avenue she knew to affect change.
The priest approached her once, to ask if he might help her in some way. He could see she was obviously distressed. He was young and meant well-enough, Lana could see but he was frail himself and could not easily help her carry the load she bent beneath.
What I mean to say is her father is sick and she loves her father more than anyone and is desperate for someone to find a cure, some doctor, some researcher, some priest. And so she has come seeking miracles. And the brief respite that comes from finding a silent corner in the world where people are busy all around you but they do not bother to notice or interfere and you can disappear easily into plain sight. And she is praying for deliverance though she is not specific in what she is asking. Sometimes she thinks she is asking for a cure, complete and full remission. No apologies. Just a full reversal of nature and the bitter course of sickness sewn in her father’s veins. And sometimes deliverance is the wish for his to be released and the prayers take the shape of death wish. There are no words but she wishes in such times for death to release them. Her heart prays for death to take him. And then, she prays for death to take her. And then she feels sorry about the whole thing and prays for forgiveness and tries to convince God, herself, that she is grateful. That she appreciates the extra time with her sick and dying father. But that part simply is not true. Her father is already gone. His body just hasn’t accepted the fact of it yet. And Lana is caught in the twilight, waiting for him to draw the last final heave. To kiss that cheek one last time. To say “I love you” and know that everything that needed to be said has been said. And yet he lingers and she keeps vigil, praying to a God she believes may be cold and wicked, praying for the deliverance no one is supposed to seek.