Prayer for When Words Fail

Leslie Takahashi

This is a prayer for when words fail, for when they are not big enough or small enough to slip into the little cracks left in our hearts by life’s unbearable pressures.

This is a prayer for when the biggest noun cannot know the enormity of joy, or when the most active verb is paralyzed in the face of grief unuttered, horror undescribed, or loss beyond accounting.

This is a prayer for when words, precious emblems though they are, cannot take into their embrace the hugeness of experience or the expanse of indebtedness or the many tangles of complexity and confusion.

This is a prayer for when we must sit with our breath, kneading the small truths we can touch as if they were therapy for our restless hands. This is a prayer for all who have known the large void of hope which is trauma.

This is a prayer for wounded hearts and bodies, for those whom we ought to always remember and sometimes choose to forget.

This is a prayer that begins with gratitude for what we can understand and know, and ends with humility which reminds us that not all is ours to do.

This is a prayer for those times when words fail and all is left is the “yes” and the “no” of it all, and our ability to let the cord of the breath lead us from this moment to the next.

This is a prayer for all who have been lost that in our memory, they might be found.

May we be the ones to make it so.