This morning (12 June 2015) I went to Yorkshire and I took a stroll with my loved ones in the beautiful cathedral city. We had a good morning breakfast in the famous Bettys cafe and was serenaded by a street pianist playing nostalgic tunes...like moon river, killing me softly and phantom of the opera (see pic below).
Then, a sign at a nearby cathedral caught my attention. It reads "Try Praying". Try praying? The message is ironic. And what's more, from a grand ancient Cathedral. Is God optional? Is faith an alternative? Has prayer become experimental? Why "try" with the Creator of Heaven and Earth? Isn't the love of the Father a sure thing? Doesn't trying imply a certain cautionary hesitation, a pausing reluctance, a weary examination. Try praying...mm...
Nevertheless, here's why I find the sign compelling, even empowering. To me, try praying is a marriage of man and God in a dance of substance and form. It is man reaching out and God touching us. It is mortality subsumed in immortality, imperfection clothed in perfection, and both dissolving into one unalloyed, indivisible whole - lost and then found in the stream of His transcendence.
Trying is human effort. Praying is divine deference. It is limitation and infinity joined in one seamless flow to confront the evil (or numbness) of the day. That is the first and final definitive act of humanity.
Trying is what makes us alive. Show me a man who has stopped trying and I will show you the deadness of his existence. To live in the shadow of death is to live without trying. It is giving up disguised as mere existing. To live fully however is to never stop trying. It is ceaseless effort in transforming the unlikeliest of reality into a more congruous one.
Try praying is no different from try living. Or try succeeding. Try failing even. Try falling. Try hoping. Try searching. Try pursuing. Try discovering. Try persistence, patience, believing, love, forgiveness and kindness. Try trying. The message is to never give up. To never relent. To never blink. For death is an infinity of unbroken blinks and thus never being able to see the fruit of one's labor that lies beyond.
So, try praying is about vision, love and faith. It is about fighting for what you believe in even when hope is the bleakest. For isn't it always darkest just before dawn? Try praying is closing the gap between an invocation and its eventual realization. Trying is making it happen because fortune favors the most prepared and he or she is one who never stops trying. For in the end, I earnestly believe that a miracle lies at the intersection between our lay effort and our eternal hope. Cheerz.