Great God, Father/Mother, Creator,
Loving Jesus, brother, teacher, savior,
Gentle Spirit, powerful guide,
I honestly don’t know where to start. There are so many things to say that they all seem to be whirling about like numbered balls in a bingo cage. Everybody prays the right number will fall out when it stops, but usually the cage quickly spins again before the mind can focus on more than the fact that the last number didn’t match the empty space on the bingo card that would have made for a winner.
I sit here in my chair, looking at the western sun shine through the green leaves of the tree and the light making the white brachts of the bougainvillea glow like miniature light bulbs. It is such a beautiful sight, and it brings me peace. There are so many places on earth like that, and I’d be willing to bet that just about everybody has a place of beauty that brings them peace. Well, perhaps not everybody, because as beautiful as this wonderful planet is, there are so many places where war, famine, natural disasters, human-made disasters, human cruelty, rape of the earth and of humans who inhabit war-torn areas exist and seem to flourish. There are places where the ground is soaked in blood, and the air screams in pain from the sights and sounds of barbarity. This is not the earth that I believe You planned. This earth is far from the Eden where life began, and all was in harmony, and it has been this way for thousands of generations.
It seems as though we reel from disaster to disaster. Children who should be safe in their schools are traumatized, shot, injured and killed on almost a weekly basis. A concert or a nightclub becomes a focus for hate and the body count rises rapidly. Before we can completely digest these atrocities, there is a flood, a fire, an eruption, a plane or train crash, a wrong-way driver who takes out innocent people and leaving other innocents mangled and suffering. The daily news is full of lies and half-truths, new proclamations that benefit a few at the expense of the many. Now we have young children, far from home, torn from their parents’ arms, thrown into cages, and given mats on the floor with a scratchy, noisy blanket that doesn’t wrap securely around their small bodies. Their captors probably don’t speak any language or dialect the children could understand, even if they weren’t so frightened they cannot take in the words being spoken to them by people wearing uniforms, sometimes like the people in uniforms their parents struggled to get away from in their native country. These children undoubtedly will suffer with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for the rest of their lives. Think of that: a 3-year-old with PTSD, a hell-like mental prison that even grown soldiers can’t conquer.
As if that weren’t bad enough, we are at the mercy of people who are determined to be like dogs on a walk, making sure to mark every possible tree, fence, rock, or sign that another dog has previously marked as his own territory. Maybe that isn’t fair to the dogs of the world; they are doing what nature programmed them to do. As for the humans, anything that disagrees with their philosophy, religion, or cultural identification seems to need to be stripped from the world, no matter how many people those programs aid or how many lives they save. We seem to have slipped into the “I’ve got mine, too bad about you” mode of thinking and doing, and again, this isn’t the way the world was planned to be, was it?
The prisms in the window have now caught the flashes of light of the setting sun and there are rainbows all over my ceiling. It’s beautiful, but transient, just like the peace that the twilight sun brings. In the time it has taken me to write these words, the rainbows have disappeared, taking the joy with them. Another news story, another disaster, another atrocity, another planned cruelty comes across the TV or computer screen. How long, O Lord, how long?
Jesus gave us such a beautiful lesson about blessings for those who are kind, merciful, good to the poor and needy, accepting of the strangers, welcoming of the aliens in the land, loving to all, including those who have wronged them. These are the people we should be seeing rather than focusing so much on those who are busy dismantling what is left of Eden on this earth. More than that, we should be doing our best to fight back, to be the crusaders for those who have no voices no matter what their age is. Honestly, I wonder if it is even possible. It seems so disheartening.
Ok, so there aren’t rainbows on the ceiling every minute of the daylight, and nature can be planned for if not controlled. Those are things we can’t do anything about. What we can do is to see where we can make a difference, no matter how small. One grain of sand doesn’t make a beach but get enough grains together and they can put a buffer between the land and the restless sea. Get enough individuals involved and seeming miracles can happen.
I wonder if I could replace the darkness in my life with not just the sight or memory of things that bring me joy or peace but with some sort of action in some direction and some way. I know writing these reflections and prayers help me to refocus and re-purpose my life, but is there more I can do? Of course, there is. I just must be aware of it and also be willing to do something about it. I have to find another passion and work at it.
I keep saying I need to do this, so maybe now the sight of those little children torn from their parents and caged, those mothers who cry and feel the desolation of empty arms, those who are innocent yet sit in prison waiting for who knows what? What about those who are shut in or perhaps dying who need a friendly face or a few kind words to make life a bit more bearable? What about cuddling crack-addicted infants in hospitals, or playing and loving puppies and kittens at the shelter awaiting adoption? Maybe replanting burned-out areas or volunteering at a soup kitchen? The possibilities are limitless – I just need to find my niche and get to work.
Thank you for listening, God, Jesus, and Spirit. I know you are always there for me, it’s just that I need an overabundance of tragedy like today to really understand that. Thank you for being there.
Image: Imperial Bougainvillea, found on Pinterest: For Planting – Bougainvilla by Jennifer Broussard.
Linda Ryan is a co-mentor for two Education for Ministry groups, an avid reader, lover of Baroque and Renaissance music, and semi-retired. She keeps the blog Jericho’s Daughter. She is also owned by three cats.