The category is Esteemed Authors; however, I had never heard of these two ladies, until I happened to spy a worn, red canvas-covered but not yet tattered book on one of my shelves. It is a small book in comparison to its neighbors, but something about it caught my eye.
It is not uncommon for me to lose track of books. When I am on a book hunt I could purchase several, ten to twenty, books at a time, bring them home, give them a glimpse through then put them on the shelf for later reading.
Sometimes when purchasing old books I do so because of the fear of never seeing them in print again. In our age of technology with eReaders, eBooks, Kindles, iPads and other such devices I am truly afraid the actual written word, on actual paper will someday vanish. I see our world in years to come as having libraries treated as museums much like the Smithsonian is today; with all real books behind either glass or lock and key. Libraries could one day become as extinct as the Tyrannosaurus.
I also simply find pleasure in old books, the way they feel and the way they smell. Some of the books in my house are more than 100 years old and I still read them. Books make me happy and that is something we all need to have, personal happiness.
Such is the case with this little red book written by Jo Carr and Imogene Sorley, I pulled it from the shelf not remembering why I had purchased it or what was special about it. If a book has a home on one of my many book shelves it is special to me for some reason, so I thought I would find out what it was about this book that intrigued me enough to purchase it.
I can tell you it is titled “Bless This Mess & Other Prayers” and it was co-written by the two above mentioned ladies. It was their second collaboration while both were living in Lubbock Texas in the 1960’s. Both had children to whom the book was dedicated which may be the initial reason I bought it, besides the fact that it was red canvas and old. The little book was published in 1969 by Abingdon Press and is a book of personal prayers. My copy of the book originated and first belonged to St. John’s United Methodist Church Library and lastly I know that Bettye Jo Crisler Carr was a female Methodist Pastor.
What I don’t know is which lady wrote which prayer unless their specific children’s names are in the respective prayer. As their children’s names are on the dedication page I could match them that way. With this said, I do not know if they collaborated on each individual poem or wrote separate poems as they pertained to the individual lady, and then compiled them together.
“Bless This Mess & Other Prayers” is unique in that I have never seen another copy, nor have I seen prayers written in such a matter of fact format as are these. Maybe the second reason I purchased the book.
Prayer is a controversial issue in America today frowned upon in many circles by different individuals and groups as it relates to public prayer and the publicizing of prayer. I truly believe in my own heart that one has to find their own way, their own beliefs, their own religious preferences and in their own time. One can do this through a multitude of avenues; church, community, school (yes even school), pastors, television, books, etc., etc.
I do not condemn a person or group if individuals because they choose to pray or choose not to pray; whether they attend church or do not attend church or if they have a God or choose not to believe in a higher power. What is important to me and my own personal beliefs is my own relationship with God and how I communicate with him.
Prayer and ones individual relationship with their Deity whether that Deity be known as: God, Jehovah, Ha Shem, Allah, Hari, Buddha, Ahura Mazda, Shang Di or one of many others worshiped in the world today, it is the individual’s own belief that constitutes their own relationship with their own God. That relationship includes but is not solely their prayers and method of praying.
I found Carr’s and Sorley’s – poem like prayers – heartfelt and a little humorous but exactly what they were feeling at the time the prayers were written as it pertains to family and daily life. I have trouble relating to or understanding a few but most of them I have enjoyed reading and can see how certain selected prayers in some way pertain to my own life as a christian, a mother, a wife, a friend and a world citizen.
During the next few weeks I will re-type a few of Carr’s and Sorley’s poems for you and let you be the judge as to whether you can see any relation between the words and your life today, 47 years after they were written. Life in general and the world as a whole have changed a great deal in the last almost half a century but have they really changed that much?
As I post them I hope you will come back and read them and maybe give me your thoughts on how they pertain to you and yours. Finally, I would like to express that the thoughts and beliefs inscribed above are completely my own thoughts and ideas not intended in anyway to offend any one religion or religious belief.