Monday, October 9, 2017

Grief, Prayer and Healing.

from Sunday's worship service
It's hard to believe a week has passed since we woke up to the terrible news from Las Vegas. I do not know anyone personally who was there, but a friend's family lost a cousin (a father of three young children). It seems that Las Vegas is a lot closer to Atlanta than I ever imagined. While much of my weekend was spent with knitting and Netflix (arguably two of the very best means for healing I know), I also had three specific experiences that I wanted to share with y'all.

My small group gathered Friday morning to continue our Book of Joy discussion. This week's chapters were about Forgiveness and Gratitude. tough topics, especially in today's context. But we all agreed what we've read has helped our reactions and responses.

The Dalai Lama makes a distinction between the person and their action:
"This is where the power of forgiveness lies -- not losing sight of the humanity of the person while responding to the wrong with clarity and firmness."
The Archbishop Desmond Tutu offers this:
"When we forgive, we take back control of our own fate and our feelings."
Saturday morning, I found these words in my inbox (the Plough's Daily Dig)
...deeds are done which appear so evil to us and people suffer such terrible evils that it does not seem as though any good will ever come of them; and we consider this, sorrowing and grieving over it so that we cannot find peace in the blessed contemplation of God as we should do; and this is why: our reasoning powers are so blind now, so humble and so simple, that we cannot know the high, marvelous wisdom, the might and the goodness of the Holy Trinity. And this is what he means where he says, “You shall see for yourself that all manner of things shall be well”, as if he said, “Pay attention to this now, faithfully and confidently, and at the end of time you will truly see it in the fullness of joy."
-- Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love 
And finally, our worship service yesterday centered around the shooting. There were 58 roses on the communion table and one more, with a broken stem, by the baptismal font. We read responsively a Litany for Peace that closed with these lines:
"In the wake of any event that should be impossible to contemplate, but which has become all too common in our experience, open our eyes, break our hearts, and turn our hands to the movements of your Spirit, that our anger and sorrow may unite in service to build a reign of peace ... and terror no longer holds sway over our common life."
We were invited to take a rose home with us, to pray for lives affected by the loss.

With open eyes and a broken heart, healing begins.

xo, M.

9 comments:

  1. Words of wisdom, and I love how your church chose to remember the lives lost. There will be along road to healing. A change within mankind's heart is desperately needed.

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  2. Thanks for sharing these words of wisdom, peace and healing.

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  3. This is where I wish we could meet at Starbucks and discuss in person. I have trouble even acknowledging the humanity of the shooter when he carried out such inhumane actions. There are times when I wonder if pure evil can be present in the world in the form of a person, and I wonder if he may be one of those people. Thank you for giving me plenty to think about, a book I might need to read, and the hope that we can talk about all sorts of things in person someday.

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful and very wise words. Our priest said words similar to what the Dalai Lama said about the key to forgiveness, that, as hard as it may be, we have to see that person as a child of God and at the same time respond to the evil action that person committed; forgiveness is something we have to work at. And, thank you for reminding me of Julian of Norwich. I read Revelations of Divine love with a group of friends during the 1st Gulf War...it might be time for a re-read to remember, "All shall be well and all manner of all things shall be well." I agree with Bonny, it would be nice to discuss these things in person!

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  5. I really like that broken rose idea. Thank-you so much for all of these wise words today. Kind of really what I needed today!

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  6. Thanks, Mary - for your thoughtful and heartfelt post.
    XOXO

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  7. Every day just seems to be more horrifying than the last but what you have shared here provides a way to look at it from a different perspective. And for that I am very grateful - thank you, Mary.

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  8. This is indeed a thought -provoking and consoling post; thank you for sharing and giving us more to think about. I think that as long as we have "lawmakers" who listen to the NRA et al, drummers, we're going to experience and face more such tragic events...many on the local level among members in a family or innocent bystanders. Bottom line: we don't need guns ! And a deep sigh !
    Peace...

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  9. Being close to LV we learned several people with Utah connections were killed or wounded. It is heart breaking. We must remember (and keep in our hearts) there is so much more good in this world than evil. Thank you for sharing the wise words of peaceful, caring people.

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Thanks for the feedback!