Friday, April 13, 2007

Evening Prayers

My little sister and me - 1949

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
And if I die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take

A classic children's prayer from the 18th Century, this simple prayer was the first one I learned as a child. My mother taught it to me. I remember kneeling by the side of my bed with Mother kneeling next to me helpng me learn the words.

I am especially fond of the following excerpt from Mother Teresa's book Everything Starts From Prayer:


surrounded and encompassed by God,

swimming in God."


Postscript: I still have that bedroom suite which is in the photo. It is painted white and decked with a blue vintage bedspread that once belonged to my paternal grandmother.


  1. This is a wonderful memory and the picture reminds me of the "angelic" themes of some pictures from way way back before you were born. We have an antique stereoscope and I used to collect the stereographs (double for 3-D photos)for it. I have several with praying children just like you and your sister. They often have a "ghost" of an angel hovering overhead.
    Beautiful post. More photos with stories! Tell us about the one on the dock.

  2. Nice. I like blogs with old pictures like this.

  3. And I just noticed your profile, and the favorite movies. "Lorenzo's Oil" has a special meaning to me, and I find it really hard to watch anymore. I've never seen it in anyone's profile before. Any particular reason you loved it?

  4. Tom, you didn't notice the ghost like image of an angel hovering overhead in this picture? Just kidding of course.

    I think of all sorts of stories to tell about the past. Nothing earth moving, just funny stories sometimes and sometimes heartwarming ones. Little slices of life is what they are.

    The story associated with the picture of me taken on the dock is on hold for a while longer.

    Dmarks, this is your first visit here. I am trying to place you in the blogs. I've seen your name somewhere. It'll come to me.

    About Lorenzo's Oil and why I listed it as one of my favorites. I was with that mother and father each frenzied step they took in an effort to find something to help their son who was doomed to die otherwise. I have never had a child or grandchild that sick, thank God. But I can still empathize with parents who are handed that challenge and struggle desperately to meet it.

    Nick Nolte was superb in this movie. I'll never forget those ashtrays that filled to overflowing while he worked so hard, smoking one cigarette after another, trying to come up with the right chemical formula for the oil.

    Did you know that Lorenzo's mother, Michaela Odone, died in 2000 from cancer. I am pretty sure it was lung cancer. In the movie she is shown smoking one cigarette after another practically just like her husband. They went through so much to help their son.

    Something else that disturbed me is that in their effort to help their son, they ended up having to fight the medical establishment.

  5. SusieQ: I saw you commenting on Wreckless "Greenpiece" blog. I'm not sure how I found Wreckless: most likely I saw him commenting in one of the other GR-area blogs.

    The Lorenzo's Oil matter is something I'm not prepared to go into in the public blogs yet. You can ask by sending me an email to the one listed in the profile, but it might be more than you want to hear.

    I will say that the doctor who was played by Peter Ustinov died just recently.

  6. This is a precious picture capturing a even more precious moment..thank you for sharing

  7. Dmarks, thank you. I will be in touch.

    Princess E., thanks for stopping by. I took a quick tour of your blog. You have a lot of nice, clever things there.

  8. That picture reminds me of a picture that hung in my great aunt's house of a man praying over his bread and bowl of soup. I think it is somewhat famous but I don't know where it is now. Your picture could take it's place. There is something profound and yet simple in it-very cool. I love the fact that you still have the bed!

  9. Me too - on that first prayer. On the second, Mother Teresa's, the language sounds like that of Christian contemplatives. I don't know enough about her life, but as a member of a religious order, seems likely that contemplative prayer would have been a part of her practice.

  10. Wreckless, I think I remember seeing that picture you described.

    About the bedroom suite. I am one of those sentimental souls. I can't throw away anything that is remotely attached to people I love. I have kept all the children's and grandchidren's artwork. I keep letters. I even keep greeting cards that were given to us. This is why the storage room in our basement looks like it does.

    Paul, you too on that prayer? Nice memories for you too then. Yes, I think you are right about Mother Teresa. She also kept her spiritual writings very simple. Sometimes less is more.

  11. I love the picture Susie. Nothing like the pure innocence of children make me feel there is hope for this crazy world. I need to start checking your blog more often Susie it appears you are back to your inspirational posts that I like so much.

  12. I found you through Tom and jumped over to see your blog. This picture could have been me and my sister and that was my first prayer too. Interesting, and scary, "if I should die before I wake"???? Where do you suppose that came from?

  13. JG, thanks for stopping by. I was about ready to come and get you. I am going to try really hard from now on to get a new post up at least once a week. I can't seem to handle more than that. I am too busy checking up on other people's blogs and writing comments that are too long sometimes. Look for a mixture of posts from me besides inspirational ones. Who one might be a recipe or a haiku.

    Nancy, I am so pleased that you stopped by. I'll be checking out your blog sometime today. It seems we all learned that children's prayer. Funny thing, that line "and if I die before I wake" never bothered me when I was a child. It only bothered me after I grew up.

    As to why that scary line is even in a child's prayer, my guess is that with death being so common back then (1700's) people must have thought it appropriate.

    That line reminds me of some of our old nursery rhymes. There is one nursery ryhme that goes "Ring around a rosy, pocket full of posy, ashes, ashes, we all fall down." It was about the Black Plague and death.

  14. Thank you for your helpful comments in my "Why Bloggers Blog" series. You and J_G prompted the inserted Part III-A

  15. Are you at all familiar with "Credence Clearwater Revival"? They have a lovely tune called SusieQ of which I am quite fond. Happy day to you and thanks for letting me visit.

  16. Tom, my participation at your blog is always my pleasure.

    Goatman, I am not familiar with "Credence Clearwater Revival" or recall the tune SusieQ. If you could hum a few bars for me, that might help. :-)