I spent my lunch going over the news coming out of Newton, CT and I saw many tweets and Facebook statuses offering prayers to the victim’s families. I love that idea, that we can put out those kind of thoughts into cyberspace. I truly believe there is value to that.
But I don’t really pray like that, so those words coming from me would ring false. And they would carry a meaning I don’t intend.
So I stared at a Twitter box and a Facebook window wondering what to say. How do I convey my thoughts to the universe in hopes that they’ll reach the epicenter of tragedy in some small way.
I vow to spread joy and love in my own community today, and hope the ripples reach those in Connecticut that will need it in the days/weeks/months/years to come. I will not honk at the slow driver or scowl at the confused cashier. I won’t complain about a stranger or gossip about a friend. I vow to promote love and joy in a world darkened by tragedy today. And I will hug my children tight tonight, and count my many blessings.
I ended up writing the above statement on Facebook. (Corrected a typo before putting it here.)
I often feel at a loss without some sort of religious standard to lean on during times of grief. I have a hard time conveying my love and support to friends and family who need and want the soothing prayers of their loved ones. I want them to know I’m thinking about them, and that my heart is with them in their sadness, but the words, “I’m praying for you,” always carry a different (and often false) meaning than I intend. I feel like it’s dishonest and I want nothing but sincerity to go towards the people I’m trying to comfort.
Am I alone in this? I know many of you connected with me over your Spiritual-but-not-Religious status. When you want to send your sympathy, what do you say?
I fell back on my standard. The only thing I ever know to do when I want to say something like, “I’m praying for you.” I told the universe I’d hug my kids tight and be good to my neighbor and hope that the positive energy I create in the process someday reaches them when they need it most.
It’s all I know to do.
And I hope my words don’t ring empty. I hope I can keep them in my heart on my most stressful days. I hope I can think of the parents of the dead children in Connecticut and continue sending love and comfort into my community in hopes that the ripples of joy will some day reach them and warm their hearts a bit.
I’ll smile at the cashier. I’ll wave at the crossing guard. I’ll thank the teachers at my children’s schools and I’ll hug my friends when I see them next. I’ll put up the buggies at the grocery store and throw away the trash on the sidewalk. I’ll buy flowers for a friend and cook dinner for my family. I’ll donate food to the food bank and drop off jackets at the homeless shelter. I’ll do all of these things in the name of the hearts broken in Newtown.
Because – while I don’t have a prayer to offer – I still have a heart filled with love to light the darkness of those entrenched in grief and sadness.