by your side
wherever you've fallen,
in the dead of night,
whenever you're calling;
please don't fight,
that are holding you..."
It's been a long time since I've listened to Tenth Avenue North. But this morning it was their, "By Your Side," that inspired me. Another mass shooting, another tragic "natural disaster," -- and my heart was reaching out for something to hold on to. And Tenth Avenue North came through with the reminder, that I don't need to hold on to God -- His hands are holding me, and mine, and all.
Sometimes, we hear a horrifying story of mayhem or loss, and we almost feel like we can't process it. It's too big. It makes us feel vulnerable and shakes our sense of personal peace. We send our love and prayers. But the human mind itself is incapable of knowing how to "think" about it all. So it doesn't. It files it away for "later."
I remember once hearing an NPR [National Public Radio] interview with a social anthropologist, one afternoon while inching my way through rush hour traffic. She was explaining the phenomenon of an entire country rallying to support a single family facing a devastating loss, while almost ignoring the plight of millions of refugee families facing famine in Africa - where thousands of children were dying of starvation each day.
She explained that this grief was too massive for the human mind to process. So it looked for something it could actually feel empowered to do something about -- a single family felt "doable." Hundreds of thousands did not. So in order to not "go mad" by the breadth of the grief, the human mind sets aside what it cannot process. I got it.
But this explanation still didn't answer my own heart-wrenching question -- how can I turn away from photos and reports of starving families? What can I do? How can I pray? It did feel like "too much," -- because it was. At least it was for the human mind.
Tenth Avenue North's song this morning was just the reminder I needed to get back on track in responding to each and every tragic report of fear, pain, lack, disaster, and loss. To see that each individual -- from the starving Syrian refugee, to the corruption-enticed Wall Street trader [who so afraid of loss that he would even consider compromises his integrity] as held by God. Held in comfort, and held in check.
Again and again, I go back to this "Daily Prayer," by Mary Baker Eddy:
"Thy kingdom come
let the reign
of divine Truth, Life, and Love
be established in me,
and rule out of me all sin,
and may Thy Word
enrich the affections
of all mankind
and govern them."
This is my prayer throughout the day. This is my prayer when I am awaken in the night. This is the prayer that springs immediately into the space of every question. It is my prayer for myself, and for "all mankind."
I know that it was this "Daily Prayer," has been my prayer in the darkest hours of my life -- whether during an attempted assault, or facing the loss of a child. To know this prayer intimately, was to know peace. It strengthened my core confidence in knowing that the affections of the man who had threatened my innocence were being governed by the Word of God. And that this Voice had been speaking directly to his heart, causing him to self-arrest his behavior.
To feel this prayer in an hour of loss, was to feel the Father's love for us - and for our child. To actually feel that this love was eternal; not validated by time, or space, or form of family. Untouched by sin [separation] and established in Soul.
Because I have felt held by the Word of God -- when I least expected it - I am able to know - with all my being - that this same presence is filling the consciousness of every man, woman, child, and creature in all of creation.
Because I have felt this Love shift my behavior, guide my actions, purify my motives, and heal my wounds -- I know it is at work in each human heart. This divine presence is stilling all conflict. It speaks in every language. Wherever we are, whatever we seem to be going through - alone, or in the midst of thousands - we are held.
This prayer has been the voice of God -- holding me, healing me, correcting me, encouraging me -- and mine, and all.
offered with Love,