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Tuesday, August 07, 2012

When prayer is not enough: the mirror is calling my name

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I've always loved this prayer. Though it's very short, in my mind it is big on content. I know it's popular with those "Get wealthy with God" movements, but I've always seen it as the soul's simplest and first hopeful search, to somehow have a positive impact, however small, on what lies outside itself. Whatever I do affects someone, somewhere. I want that to be for the good. Sometimes the best we can hope for is to "not cause pain", but we can't stop there. 

I have been pondering the tragic news from Wisconsin, the ultimate betrayal for a faith community gathered in what should have been a place of sanctuary. I have prayed and continue to pray for all involved.

Yes, prayers are essential, and not only for the victims and their families. This is something I wrote in response to a fellow blogger's post, referencing the July 20 theatre shootings in Aurora, Colorado:


"Whenever something like this happens, I am always shocked yet again. In our western society, supposedly with so many resources at our disposal, why are we so inept at preventing these tragedies? This act was not perpetrated by someone ignorant of the consequences; rather, he seems to have been a highly educated grad student. How can we be failing to identify and help these troubled individual? How can we continue to turn a blind eye to the pain and social isolation that MUST be present for these acts to occur? My thoughts and prayers are of course with the unfortunate victims of this horrific attack, and their families. But I fervently pray also, that we as fellow humans in a distressed world, we will have the courage to help our brothers and sisters find the healing they need, and prevent any more such horrifying occurrences."


 I was brought up in a traditional home, where prayer for victims seemed to me an "automatic" response to tragedy. Without disrespecting, or questioning the faith, of my parents, or any other kind souls, I have come to believe it is also my duty to spare a thought for the "other victims" in these news stories: the perpetrators of a level of violence most of us have trouble imagining. I try to "walk a mile in their moccasins", as heart-wrenching as that is. These lost souls are somebody's son, brother, father, husband. They were not born possessing the evil necessary to commit these acts. Somehow, in plain sight of, and in the company of, their social circles and their larger communities, evil found a home with them. And we stood by and allowed it to happen. 

My personal pewter Jabez prayer, less than 1-1/2" high.
He's in my purse, beside my cellphone
and ID cards, hoping to help me see
how God's hand is always holding me up.

Being a brother's keeper doesn't seem that popular any more. It's mighty convenient to find blame, and any news media worth their salt can provide plenty of scapegoats. I just think it would help if we checked the mirror once in a while. I'm going to go looking for some stories of Good Samaritans and other rare phenomena now.  I know there is a lot of good out there; sometimes it's just too well hidden. If anyone has a positive thought or a link to share, I sure need to receive it.  And I'm going to keep peeking in the mirror, searching for a hint of what more I can do, to enlarge the territory of my understanding and my compassion.



6 comments:

  1. Thank you for being patient enough to get through my ramblings, Mallory!

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  2. You are a beautiful soul, Miss Monique. I agree with you completely and I love that prayer. Thank you for sharing it with us. When I mentioned praying for the victims and their families I feel that we are all a part of that. We are all a human family and what happens to one of our own affects us all. I was struck by seeing the tears in the eyes of the stepmother of the man who committed this senseless act. Her tears are ours as well. For all our interconnectedness on the web we are isolated to those around us. We need to reach out and be more concerned about our neighbors and be more cognizant of those who might be isolated in our midst and be a brother to them as well. Thank you for adding your thoughts to these senseless acts of violence and for giving me something to think on and pray about. That is a 'something good' for sure. Enjoy the day. Erin

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  3. Amen! Erin, your reflections are so filled with truth. Whenever I am online, even in this moment, I cannot help wondering if I am thereby separating myself from my physical community. (The same way the sight of hot water running down the drain brings to mind, for some, drought and need in the lives of others.) Of course, we needn't give away, or stop utilizing, every improvement we have in this, the First World. But our acceptance of privilege needs to go hand in hand with responsibility, a mindfulness of our duty to protect others, even from themselves. Not only because it "helps" others, but as you phrased it so well, that they not feel "isolated in our midst". May we all share "something good"! Thank you for adding some goodness to my day

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  4. Very touching, you're absolutely right!

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  5. Really well written piece. I like your take on this prayer - as a way to increase understanding and compassion (rather than wealth as it has been more popularly understood). As with all scripture, sometimes we need to dig a bit below what we THINK the text means!

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