Thoughts and Prayers

There was a time when saying that you had someone in your “thoughts and prayers” was meaningful and appreciated. When someone says that it nowadays, it often feels like apathetic. The phrase gets bashed all the time, and the definition behind it appears to have been lost in translation. As someone who often focuses a helluva lot on thought, allow me to present my case for the prayer portion.

During last night’s slumber, I had a dream that sent chills down my spine. The dream was set in my childhood home that I have not resided in since 2009. I sat at the kitchen table with both my mother and father. There was no conversation. We sat there going about our business. A elder gentleman pushed open the back door into the kitchen. There stood my grandfather who passed away fifteen years ago. He looked like he did a few months before he passed from cancer. He meandered his slender frame covered with balding silver hair and large spectacles over to the kitchen table. He sat down across from me and calmly dismissed my parents into the next room. He gently muttered to me, “I’m so proud of you.” I started to tear up and wanted to thank him. This was when my eyes sprung open.

The dream left an eerily tranquil feeling over the morning. It felt like my childhood idol, my grandfather was there again.  It was like he wanted to communicate those words to me. It felt real.

I could easily chalk the dream up to some scientific explanation. My subconscious conjured repressed memories of my childhood and came out while my inhibitions were down during my rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep. Or that happened to be the part of my neural network at play.

As a mental health counselor, I utilize a plethora of cognitive, or thought-based techniques to help my clients make sense of their situation. I have to admit something though. Not everything can be explained through such interventions.

Even if you are not religious, I believe there is a reason that people say that you will be in their “thoughts and prayers.” That short phrase acknowledges the cognitive aspect of life. Our thoughts are under our control. Our minds produce them, and they stem from a deep-rooted, ingrained belief system that developed over many years. However, there are some things that rational thought simply cannot explain.

The second half of the phrase highlights the possibility of a mysterious, omnipresent force that we cannot control.

Please note I left the terminology vague for you the reader to apply as necessary. This is because every individual connects to the spirituality and belief system differently. There is no right or wrong answer as to what your “force” is. Though, the benefits of being in touch with it are endless for one’s spiritual self-care.

In facing man’s greatest fear – that of the unknown – this force grants us the courage to confront it. It fuels our creativity and motivates us to push forward. This force inexplicably gives us the tools and guidance at exactly the right moments without expectation. There is peace of mind knowing you are not alone and that miracles are possible. It produces unimaginable miracles, leaving scientists shaking their heads in utter disbelief. It sparks hope that there is light among the darkness.

Embrace its presence.

-The Caring Counselor

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