When Prayers are Filled with Snot

By Emily Fletke

Photo by Emily Fletke  @fletkefoto

Photo by Emily Fletke @fletkefoto

I didn’t think prayer worked.

Prayer seemed like a cop-out. Something for weak people who give up and stop trying. And I am no quitter.

Besides, could God really be any more than an invisible friend who lets you talk at him for as long as you like? I can get a fuzzy, stuffed animal for that, thanks.

What could God actually do about my circumstances? Did he even care or have time for me? Wasn’t he too busy?

My life was in severe shifting mode: seasons, relationships, priorities, career — you name it — it was shifting.

My husband and I had just gotten married — this was a victory — but the road ahead looked unknown and very unstable. I realized I might not continue down the career path I had been pursuing for the previous ten years. That path — musical theatre — had been my whole world up until that point. I felt like I had no other skills, except perhaps caring for other people’s children.

I felt an urge to start pursuing photography, but I knew literally no photographers other than my college roommate who lived in another city — and I had no connections in New York City who could help me get started.

FEELING WRETCHED

My husband didn’t have steady work and he was still figuring things out, working a number of odd jobs in the interim. We struggled to pay the bills and I was concerned about how we would survive.

I had no idea how I was going to make money, and as it turns out, you need money to live in New York City.

I was desperate.

Soon enough, the dam broke. My despair and frustration, along with my snot, gushed all over our red patterned, textile living room rug. I’m not sure what our neighbors must have thought about the extensive wailing coming from our apartment.

“What am I going to do?”

“I need work!”

“I don’t know how to get a job in another career field.”

“I don’t know how to make it happen.”

“If you’re asking me to step into a new career, God, then you’ve gotta do something! “

HELP, GOD!

[ring, ring] The phone rings. (Of course the phone rings!)

I couldn’t deny the strange connection between my “giving up” and the ring of my iPhone from the other room.

I could barely see with my flooded, puffy eyes, but I collected myself enough to answer the call and whimper “Hello?”  

“Is this Emily?” I recognized the voice of my acquaintance, someone I barely knew.

“I want to connect you with Janet. She’s looking to hire a photographer to shoot her daughter’s upcoming Bar Mitzvah. I thought of you. Would you be interested?”

The Bar Mitzvah was the first of many events I would shoot over the next three years.

Now I’m the photographer for Radiant.

Go figure.

Maybe prayer works after all.

Is there anything you’re desperate for? Have you tried crying out to God? Snotty prayers welcome.