Elizabeth Taylor: An Urgency of Kindness
New York City
Tennessee asked me once how to pray. Just asked me how I did it. Praying is, for me, like breathing. I don't know how I do it. I know that it is something that I'm doing; I know that it keeps me alive; I know that I'm probably not doing it fully; but I don't know how I do it. I don't really think about it. But he got me to thinking about it, and I realized that prayer in stillness is worthless. Prayer has to have movement, it has to have urgency. There are needs and people that need to be gotten to quickly, so I don't do much of any good if I remain still and silent and ask God to do what God has put me here to do, which is to love and to serve. To do my part. To heal the world as best I can.
So---how do I pray? I ask for signs. I ask for some sense of peace. I ask for clear vision. And then I look, with my clear eyes, for the signs and I follow them. Tennessee used a term that reminds me of my mother, who was a Christian Scientist. It's a very Christian Science term: There is always something that should be done. Or something like that. An urgency of kindness. That, to me, is prayer. That, to me, is Tennessee.
You know, there really aren't too many answers out there. Not even to the really big questions. We just keep trying and asking questions and showing up and...praying.
There's always something to do. Make someone smile. Give someone something--a gesture, a gift, a minute of your time. When you reach a certain age, you just want to know that you threw a shadow on the world; that you'll be remembered. I make sure people see me seeing them and noticing them. I let people throw their shadow on me.
And I like being in the shadows of others. No one will believe that, but I do.
Moving, praying, in the shade.