Tuesday, April 24, 2012

have mercy

{Vi finding her happy place}
A few years ago I read J.D. Salinger's novel Franny and Zoe. It is a coming of age story that follows two siblings as they enter adulthood in New York City. Franny and Zoe's family is something straight out of a Wes Anderson movie, in fact, I seriously considered writing a screenplay based on the novel and sending it to Anderson for his consideration. Then I remembered that I didn't know how to write a screenplay and it might be somewhat narcissistic to think that I would be best suited to adapt an American classic for the silver screen (only somewhat narcissistic of course).

I was thinking about this novel tonight as I put Violet to bed.

To say Violet has had an emotional few days would be an understatement. She has cried more in the last four days than she has in the last four months. No rhyme or reason to it, just not feeling quite herself I guess. She absolutely wept when Jeff's laptop ran out of batteries earlier tonight...it was as though she had just watched Sophie's Choice. Actually, it was as though she had just made Sophie's choice.

Anyway, In the novel Franny is intrigued by the Eastern Orthodox tradition of prayer without ceasing. The tradition espouses the value of quiet, continual prayer. "The Jesus prayer" as it is called, is a short prayer that some Orthodox Christians repeat over and over again. The idea is that it becomes internalized, almost like a heart beat. In English the prayer is, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner." That is it, it is as simple as that.

I've thought about the Jesus prayer a lot since reading Franny and Zoe, normally only when things are really stressful. Of course, it is easy to forget this sort of things when everything is going well isn't it? Tonight the Jesus prayer came to mind  as Violet balled her eyes out for no reason and I started to feel like joining her.The mercy part was really standing out.

Considering I can still hear muffled sobs coming from Vi's bedroom, I am not sure it has been granted. At least not yet...

What a night!



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