Prayer in Gratitude for the Right Song Arriving at the Right Time, for Example Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings or Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising,” or Chet Baker’s “She Was Too Good to Me”

Because you know and I know that a song can save your life. We know that we don’t say it much, but it’s true. When you are dark and despairing a song comes and makes you weep as you think yes yes yes. When you are joyous a song comes to top off the moment and make you think the top of your head will fly off from sheer fizzing happy. A song makes you sob with sadness for such pain and loss as throbs inside the bars of the song. A song roars that we will not be defeated by murder but we will stand together and rise again, brothers and sisters! A song makes your heart stagger that you found someone to love with such an ache and pang. A song comes—how amazing and sweet and glorious that is! And this is not even to get into how amazing and miraculous music itself is, the greatest of all arts. But this evening, haunted by a song that slid out of the radio and lit up your heart, we pray in thanks that there are such fraught wild holy moments as this one. And so: amen.

By Brian Doyle

Collage by Carolina Perrone

Prayer of Thanks for Old Girlfriends, or Boyfriends, as the Case May Be – Brian Doyle

No, we don’t think about them much if at all anymore, and yes, it all worked out right that we are not together, and no, it would not have been a good idea at all to continue on in what became a murky emotional wilderness, but yes, we should be grateful that they came into our lives, or that we blundered into theirs; for in many ways they are how we came to be who we are, isn’t that so? And didn’t we learn how to love better by loving generally poorly and awkwardly in the opening chapters, before moving up to the current big leagues?… So thank You for the pain and confusion and thrill of first and second and third loves; thank You for letting us muddle along learning to be painfully honest and not try to be cool and not hold on desperately to that which is rightfully leaving the scene; thank YOU for the bruise of education, and the joy of the much deeper confusion of marriage. Deft work there, Friend. And so, amen.

– Brian Doyle