Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Prayer

The tragic, unthinkable, incomprehensible act of a gunman in Colorado descended upon us all once again and I find myself struggling to understand; I don't.  How can anyone understand such an event?  As I listened to the news reports and the viewed the images in the media I became fixated on the outpouring of grief.  I heard about the unselfish love of at least 5 men who placed their bodies on top of their girlfriends and in so doing died while saving them.  I saw pictures of the father begging for news about his son who was later found dead; dying on his birthday, and I saw the picture of a beautiful six year old little girl whose life ended in that theater before it really had a chance to begin.  I fought back tears.  That little girl smiling, eating an ice cream cone stays with me.  I realized each of those victims regardless of their age was somebody's child, a priceless, irreplaceable gift from God.  

Sometime ago I came across a prayer written by Ina J. Hughes entitled, "We Pray for Children".  I printed that prayer and have it in my office at school.  I can't think of a more appropriate prayer for a day like today so I am sharing it here.

We pray for children
who sneak popsicles before supper,
who erase holes in math workbooks,
who can never find their shoes. 

And we pray, for those
who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
who can't bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers,
who never "counted potatoes,"
who are born in places where we wouldn't be caught dead,
who never go to the circus,
who live in an X-rated world. 

We pray for children
who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
Who sleep with the cat and bury goldfish,
Who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money,
Who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink,
Who slurp their soup.

And we pray for those
who never get dessert,
who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
who watch their parents watch them die,
who can't find any bread to steal,
who don't have any rooms to clean up,
whose pictures aren't on anybody's dresser,
whose monsters are real. 

We pray for children
who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
who like ghost stories,
who shove dirty clothes under the bed,
and never rinse out the tub,
who get visits from the tooth fairy,
who don't like to be kissed in front of the carpool,
who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone,
whose tears we sometimes laugh at
and whose smiles can make us cry. 

And we pray for those
whose nightmares come in the daytime,
who will eat anything,
who have never seen a dentist,
who aren't spoiled by anybody,
who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
who live and move, but have no being. 

We pray for children
who want to be carried
and for those who must,
for those we never give up on
and for those who don't get a second chance.
For those we smother…
and for those who will grab the hand of anybody
kind enough to offer it. 

We pray for children. Amen
Today my prayers will include ALL of the children who died in Colorado and will include the child who was the shooter and his family.

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