Prayer for the Children

There is no need to further open the gaping wound that is our heart these days.  We need not begin this lamentation in the typical fashion; no need to recite all the atrocities for which we weep or wail.  Not all of them.  We don’t have time – or breath, or stomach, or imagination for all of them.  So today, Father’s day – we stay our mind on one.

On this day thousands of babes – no, that is not poetry of exaggeration – thousands, we can count them.  Someone has counted them.  Someone has checked boxes, or made tallies on lined paper, or estimated the bodies bundled together in cages.  Thousands of babes – months and years, but not many, old – torn from the clutch of the arms and skin, the smells and safety, the language and promises, the home keeping and heart beating to which they were born.

I cannot stomach it.  The words catch in my throat.

Someone, I promise you, will leave this community after today for I have been political from the pulpit. And someone, I promise you, will leave this community after today because I said the words that we’ve been inundated by; given imagery to what we’re trying to erase from our minds; and made us steep in silence when – fairly enough –we should be screaming in rage.  Someone will leave because church was too hard when they need an escape.

And so, perhaps I stay my mind on two lamentations today:  One where the pain resides: amid the unthinkable. And another, where the pain resides: for all the ways we each find to not think.

I’m no different of course.

But what are we for?  But what are we, if we cannot pray on this?  If we cannot make our bodies move for this?  Find a spot of sun, wake our depressed limbs, make them rise -for this.  We must get a cup of tea, a hand to hold, a shoulder to weep on, a body to fall into, wet dark soil to dive into: reminder of our smallness, reminder of our divinity.

It is okay to be afraid. It is okay to be tired.  It’s okay to worry that we will never be the same if we are to feel the weight of this time.

And it is okay to step out. To breathe deep. To laugh over petty things and to appreciate pretty things.

It’s just that we have to do it all this time:  The fear and the love. The distraction and the deep dive. The anguish and the action. We must find what will allow our shattered hearts to stay in this moment so that they do not turn dry from disconnection.

For this is not some other place, some other people, some other time.  As my colleague says, You belong to them. And they to you.

It’s Father’s Day.  And this is the place we gather to be called back to our most possible selves.  And this is the time we are reminded that in the depth of beauty and cruelty, we are not alone.

Someone will leave but I believe most of us will stay.  Because we need one another most right now. We need one another most right now. We need one another most right now. We need to be able to pray, and move, and weep, and call ourselves up from exhaustion.

We belong to one another. This is our joy.  This is why we weep.

Prayer given by Rev. Kim Wildszewski on June 17, 2018