For today, I decided to read the Monday prayer out loud for you. Simply hit play in the player below, or of course you can simply read as usual.
Life is a tangled up, colorful mess of joy and grief. And we are caught up, for better or worse, in the web of it.
For some, one knock on the door reveals the kind of news that falls like a deep, black curtain right over our hearts. There’s been an accident. Now everything we see, touch, hear, or remember is done so through the heavy gauze of grief. It seems impossible to move forward in this new reality.
But that isn’t all.
Some of us just received news of joy and delight, delivering a hopeful vision of the future we didn’t dream possible: a phone call from the social worker with good news, a positive test after years of trying, a promotion after a successful pitch, a surprise bonus check that relieves the financial pressure. It seems to good to be true.
But that isn’t all, either.
Others of us woke up on this regular morning with nothing in particular to grieve and nothing in particular to celebrate. The twinkle lights mock our mood, all the music sounds redundant, TV commercials grate like a faucet’s non-stop drip, drip, dripping in the background.
Of course none of these tell the whole story, either.
Still, You know the rest – the elation, the celebration, the tragedy, the sorrow, as well as the everyday ordinary.
It can be hard to live in community with one another when we all walk such different roads.
Help us to practice the spiritual discipline of shutting our mouths.
Keep us from attempting to dissect the mystery of our neighbor.
Wake up in us a holy curiosity for the experience of others.
Give us the gift of silence, to listen to one another rather than assume we know things we don’t.
Because You alone see our loneliness masked well beneath a smooth, olive layer of L’Oréal.
You alone see our fear of losing the good gifts as well as our hesitancy to embrace them in the first place.
You alone know the difference between the laughter that spills over from a true, joyful place and the kind that drips thin on the surface to cover up the pain.
You know and see and hold it all. And You condemn us not.
You came to comfort the broken, to weep with the lost, to rejoice with the cheerful, and to redeem the time.
You are our Kind Companion no matter the color of the road we walk.
Help us receive that kindness for ourselves as we gaze upon our own circumstances.
And help us to be sensitive to the circumstance of others, and to be kind to them in turn.
Today is the anniversary of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary School. That week 3 years ago, I made my own attempt to put words on the heartbreak. And today, Jamie Martin (a citizen of Newtown) writes about the needs they still have there in her community that, in many ways, is our community as well.