Tom Robbins: A renegade looks at prayer

Confiscated from . . .
Tibetan Peach Pie
By Tom Robbins

Rena was a sweet, sunny, towheaded child, whose life revolved mainly around her family of dolls.

It was a lovely May day two months before my seventh birthday when Rena, age four, was taken to Blowing Rock’s new clinic to have her tonsils removed. 

“She’ll be home in a day or so,” my mother assured me. Rena never came home — except in a pretty little coffin decorated with cherubs, lined in white satin. She’d been administered an overdose of ether.

To this day, when anyone I love leaves home for longer than a few hours, I’m filled with dread that they will not return.

When Mother became pregnant about a month after Rena’s death, she prayed over and over and with much fervor that she’d give birth to twin girls: a single daughter would have invited inevitable comparisons to Rena, and as for another son, I guess one Tommy Rotten was more than enough for one household. The next March, my twin sisters Mary and Marian were born.

It gives one pause, does it not? You needn’t place it in a religious context, we can argue all night about the true identity of its source, but for me, at least, there is no denying the evidence of answered prayer.

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