In high school I had a theology teacher we will call Ms. A who couldn’t have been much older than I am now, or maybe she was even younger. Also, she was nuts. One time she taped two girls’ arms together with packing tape at the front of the classroom, then yanked the tape off, held it up so that we could see all the arm skin gunk on it, and explained that this was why we shouldn’t have premarital sex. This is my favorite story to tell about Catholic school when I am drunk because it gets a great reaction every time, and when I am drunk I am always looking for a reaction.
Ms. A started every class period with a prayer, and a thing you could do was raise your hand and say if you had something or someone you wanted the group to pray for, and if you didn’t want to say what it was specifically that was okay too, you could just say special intention. I actually think that was the most respectful Ms. A ever was of any of us, of our privacy or of anything else: We don’t have to understand what you are asking for. But we will ask for it on your behalf.
My plan was to make a gratitude list for today, and I’m going to do that later anyway because I am, I am so grateful, for my beautiful family and my gorgeous friends and the fact that I have never in my life had to wonder if I was going to eat that day. But what happened last night in Ferguson—what is happening all day every day, world without end—has left me so heartbroken and afraid and angry and helpless-feeling, and the idea of cheekily telling you I’m thankful for the Serial podcast and tottering off to New York for the week makes me want to punch my own self in the face.
I tend not to write a ton about what’s going on in the world because I always feel like there are other, smarter, more articulate people who deserve to be heard much more than I do. I tend not to write a lot about faith because my feelings are murky and confusing at best. But I will say that back in Ms. A’s class it used to help to know that nineteen other girls in uniforms were praying for you to get what you needed, even if they had no earthly idea what it was.
I don’t know what we need, exactly. But I will ask for it today.