I wanted to write about pumpkins today. I wanted to celebrate October blue skies and the hope and golden orange crunchy nature of fall finally arriving, or at least the hope of it.
Instead, like you, I awoke to heartbreaking news of a mass shooting in Las Vegas. My Twitter feed filled with bad images and violence and of course, chatter of all types.
I made my husband turn off the news because I actually felt the hurt and horror deep in my heart. I couldn’t bear it.
On top of this unbelievably awful thing, there are Other Things, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, politics, racism, sexism, discrimination, mistrust, a violent destroying of each other with our words and our angst.
Not to mention the Personal Things: normal struggles of life, death, disease, relationships, finances. Things that do not go as planned. Layers of Things, bombarding us and the people we love.
Any one of these Things is enough, too much actually. Instead they are coming these days in waves and clumps and avalanches, literally.
As I walked today, I asked God to guide me about what to write about. I almost just published a fourteen word blog, “Lord, have mercy on us. We are tearing your world and each other apart.”
Instead, a word of hope came in a song by Alison Krauss with these words with a twist from an old hymn, “Take my life and let me be a living prayer my God to Thee.” (A Living Prayer)
Let me be a living prayer.
To me this means we fall to our knees in prayer. We acknowledge that there is evil in our world and we are a part of it. We confess that our hearts are breaking, shattered even. And then we stand up and live a prayer.
We work for gun control or to increase awareness and action around mental health issues. We give blood, We mentor an at-risk child. We raise our kids with more love and compassion and less bigotry and divisiveness. We run for office or try to change something, somewhere because guess what? Whatever we are currently doing is not working too well. And, when we argue endlessly and hatefully about what to change and how to change it we, ourselves, set everything back.
Last week, I cried watching the beginning of a football game, (a football game!) because I could see very real generational pain on the players’ faces. That whole thing was about so much more than patriotism. It was about how we are tearing each other apart–word by word, violent action by violent action, personally, systemically. It is about our culture…in this country. It is about how we treat human beings. Lord have mercy, seriously, have mercy on us.
I am heartbroken today. I’m also praying. I’m also asking God to help me be a living prayer. I hope you will join me in falling to your knees and then in getting up and doing something different, something better.