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Posts tagged ‘prayer’


20121215-195304.jpg I’m generally an optimistic person. I have a great deal of faith in people and the Universe. I keep a copy of Desiderata posted near my desk and I’ve had periods when I’ve read it daily or several times daily. There is a line that I particularly like, and I go to it when I’m trying to make sense of things that don’t make sense — “And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” I don’t need to understand why, I just need to believe that and that things will right themselves, things will balance out in the end, karma will take hold, it’ll all make sense sooner or later.

Then this. Newtown happened.

I’m left to believe that there are exceptions. There is a glitch (Thanks, Wreck-it Ralph).

I get accidents and natural disasters. Horrific but bound to happen. I get fights and wars. I don’t like them, but I understand snap decisions, poor judgment, ego trips, primal behavior, innocent bystanders, unintended consequences. Tragic byproducts of life.

What I don’t get is when an individual makes a series of decisions that lead him to go looking for harmless, innocent babies to murder.

Mental illness won’t do as an explanation for this, not for me. But, let’s go with that for a minute. Is there any amount of therapy or medication, any type of intervention, that could have prevented this? Is there any amount of parental love and support or prayer? Right now, I’m doubtful.

I’m inclined to believe that there are broken people among us. Irrecoverably broken ones that slipped into the Universe. Ones that are not supposed to be here. I’m sorry. On some level, I think “He was someone’s son, brother, friend. He must have at some time brought joy and happiness to some one.” I don’t care. That could not possibly outweigh the sadness and horror he has left behind.

I wish peace for the survivors, including those in the shooters family. May they remember, “With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.”

Prayer for Jay

I wrote the paragraphs below this past January or February after my most recent Supper Club meeting, and never posted them.  Supper Club meets again this coming Saturday, and I’m reminded of the incident described and the reflection it brought on.

I had taken Jay to use the bathroom on the second floor of my friend’s house.  She was hosting our quarterly supper club gathering, usually a convivial affair of five women, children included only if spouses and other relatives are unavailable.

The second floor was quiet, and Jay and I stuck our heads in a few doors before we found the right one.  As we walked back down the staircase, Jay asked me, “Where’s the daddy that lives here?”

Hmmm.  The question was wrapped in an assumption — not a positive word because we know what it connotes.  Maybe “expectation” is better?  It occurred to me that Jay assumes, or expects, a live-in dad because he has one; his first cousins live with their moms (my sisters) and dads; and as far as he can see in the three directions from where our suburban home sits at the top of a T-intersection, there are moms and dads with no kids or moms and dads with kids.  He sees a fair mix of mothers and fathers, brown and otherwise, picking up his classmates from his private pre-school, again, in the suburbs.

Jay doesn’t know yet that the statistics would tell a different story.  Less than half of black households are headed by two parents.  I wonder when and how Jay will learn this, and what he’ll think.  Will he feel privileged or embarrassed?  Different or normal?I remember when I first realized that my own family structure was not the “norm.”  I was in the high school bathroom with two of my friends.  They were complaining about their overprotective fathers – orge-sounding men who strictly enforced curfews and rules about them receiving phone calls and visits from boys.  I remember feeling odd that I could not contribute to the conversation, embarrassed that I could not say, “Oh yeah, well, my father is worst than that because . . . .”  It struck me that in my own home, while we had rules and our own sense of order, there was no father who told me and my sisters what we could and could not do, and there never had been.  Throughout my extended family, there were many examples of women-run households, fathers absent, sometimes absent and never heard from nor spoken of.  I had come to take it for granted that men make babies that they may or may not hang around to raise, and in fact, we should be surprised if they did stay around.

Oh, bless Jay’s heart.  Let him continue to expect a dad to be in the home and think of it as normal.  Let him grow into a man who believes that it is his responsibility – no, his duty – to raise the family he makes.

The 16-Hour Road Trip: Part I


Sometimes a decision is either brave or foolish, and you can’t know which until after the thing is done.  I debated with myself for a few weeks — me and the kids, by car from MD to SC, sans Hubby?  I did it once before, last July, and it was fine.  We had fun.  Nobody got hurt.  “Be brave, try it again,” I told myself.  I had some inexplicable, slight misgivings.  Maybe I got lucky last year, maybe I shouldn’t push my luck.  Relax, have fun at home for Spring Break.  “Don’t be foolish,” I told myself.  But, brave is good.  I like brave.  And, I went with that.

I could not have known that an 8-hour trip would become a 16-hour odyssey.  And, here, more specifically is what else I learned yesterday.

In addition to checking the weather forecast for your destination, check the weather for the route there.  Severe thunderstorms in my SC hometown?  Ok, been there, done that.  Tornados in NC?  At one point, we and all other travelers in sight pulled off to the side of I-95.  The trees were leaning over the highway, clouds were sending the rain down through firehoses, hail was pelting the car from every direction, and leaves and debris were swirling around us like confetti.  Jay started to cry and clutch his blanket.  Mae was scared and quiet, which says a lot.

She’s funny when she’s being silly. She’s hilarious when she’s serious (though you had better not laugh out loud).  After we were back on the highway and she’d had a little time to process the storm, she pronounced — and, this is a direct quote.  I wrote it down as soon as she said it because it’s easy to write and drive when you’re moving at 3 miles per hour — “Let me tell you something.  This nasty weather cannot go on.”

She was decidedly annoyed.  She stayed quiet for a little while.  When she spoke again, her tone had changed.  She said, like a leader rallying her troops, “The best thing to do is pray.  We’re going to pray now, and again when we get to Nonny’s house.  And, Mommy you’re going to lead.  Starting . . . now.  BUT, keep your eyes open!”  Now, we are not Christians, and we do not have a practice of prayer at home.  At school, however, she does pray with her teachers and classmates.  I wanted to see how she would pray.  So, I said, “I have to focus on driving, so you lead the prayer.” She started, “Dear God, . . . ” and Jay started to mock her.  Bad idea.  “This is serious!  STOP talking!”  He wouldn’t settle down for her, so I told him to and he listened.  She said her prayer, asking God to stop the tornado.  Amen.

Mae made her peace with the storm and became contemplative.  She and Jay focused on looking for rainbows and identifying cloud shapes.  She saw a squirrel with a smile.  He saw a moosehead with an elephant trunk.  They didn’t find a rainbow, but Mae said she saw air slicing through clouds.  It’s that image of sun rays reaching down through openings in the sky.  According to Mae, we were looking at “nature’s art show.”  She said, “That’s what nature does.  Always making art.”

And, here’s another major lesson learned yesterday.  The only thing more worrisome than thinking your child will have a potty emergency in the car is thinking you’ll have your own potty emergency in the car.  Wearing a dress, riding high in an SUV, and having a stack of napkins in the glove compartment and an empty McDonald’s cup are darn good things when you are stuck in a mess of traffic.

That is all for Part I.

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