Sometimes – a lot of the time, actually – in my relationship with God, I feel like the man frantically scurrying around doing all sorts of stuff for his family, but never being present with them. He buys them things, takes them places, tells hilarious jokes round the dinner table, arranges elaborate birthday parties, he makes grand proclamations of his love for them in front of his friends – but he’s never available, he never talks to them, he’s never intimately there. I do a lot for God. I preach, I teach, I play music, I comment, debate, discuss, defend, encourage, celebrate. But I find it really, really difficult to be prayerfully present with God. Maybe I’m afraid of what I’ll find once I go to the inner sanctum. Maybe I’m trying to hide the fact that I’m the last person present in my own heart. Trying to hide, or trying to forget.
In times of pressure or anxiety—like when Mother was dying—I’ll do a daily rosary for everybody. Or I’ll light candles and climb in the bathtub, try to put my mind where my body is—the best prayers are completely silent. Otherwise, I do a lot of begging. I just beg, beg, beg, beg like a dog, for myself and those I love. And I do the cursory, “If it’s your will . . .” but God knows that I want everything when I want it. He knows I’m selfish and want a zillion bucks and big tits and to be five-ten. So I’m not fooling him with that “If it’s your will” shit. The real prayer happens when I’m really desperate, like when I was going through a period of illness last year. Amazing what power there is in surrender to suffering. Most of my life I dodged it, or tried to drink it away—“it” being any reality that discomfited me.