I have often imagined similarly
It was on the nights I didn’t sleep at all and I didn’t feel like reading that I’d walk through town at one or two o’clock. In the old days I could walk down every single street, past every house, in about an hour. I’d try to remember the people who lived in each one, and whatever I knew about them, which was often quite a lot… And I’d pray for them. And I’d imagine peace they didn’t expect and couldn’t account for descending on their illness or their quarreling or their dreams.
from Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
I have stopped trying to figure out how or why prayer works. Since I’ve given up that pondering, I’ve prayed a lot more; it doesn’t have to have as much… figuring behind it anymore; I just pray. I have a lot more enjoyment in prayer, now, too, since I’ve stopped angsting about it.
Gilead is the slowest-to-read novel that I’ve ever enjoyed. I find it very interesting, but as of yet, not very compelling. “Compelling” in the “hard to put down” sense. On the contrary, it’s easy to put down; it has a lot of natural stopping places. Yet, when I pick it up again, I always enjoy what I read, so it’s not as if I don’t like it. Reading the book has almost been an excercise in slow thoughtfulness, in the enjoyment of quiet things, and easily-missed details.. It’s not a book one can skim, not a book to read quickly at all. Still. I’ve been reading it for about two and a half weeks, and am only on page 73, and I read from it virtually every day. That’s pretty darn slow.
When I started reading it, I didn’t realize it had won the Pulitzer Prize for 2005; I just learned that a week ago or so.