On days like today, when it feels like our country is imploding, I sit at my computer and stare at the screen. I read and listen to the comments, the posts, the rants, the angry voices, the hurt voices and the posts about beauty products and vacations seem trivial. Tears and venom mix together in what is a lethal yet far too common concoction of mistrust, anger and hate on what we now rely on to get our information and news. Although I am baffled, confused and saddened by what has happened over the past week, my despair is nothing to the suffering of those who have been directly affected. Those who have lost someone they love. Those who are afraid to walk down their street.
Is this the new normal?
We are at each other’s throats and can’t seem to back down from tearing each other apart, be it over politics, race, religion, safety or any other number of issues where one feels the need to take a side or a stand. Our opinions and personal rights matter more than human life. It feels as if we have learned nothing from history and have forgotten that when we fight amongst each other, when we create a civil war, when we draw lines in the sand; nobody wins.
Everyone is a loser when we all close our eyes and pull the trigger.
I have no answers and don’t pretend to know how to stop the downward spiral we have found ourselves in. In dark and uncertain times, the best position we can take is on our knees.
Social media has taught us to create at “pray for” hashtag. But what, exactly, should we pray for? Are we praying for our side to win? Are we praying for retribution? Are we praying for vengeance? Are we praying that we all just get along?
When we don’t know the answer, when we have mucked this up so badly we are at a loss for words, when anger fills our hearts; the only thing I can think of is to pray for mercy, compassion, and grace. It’s difficult to be angry with someone when you are praying for them. It’s difficult to brush off someone else’s suffering when you are praying to understand their pain. It’s difficult to want revenge when you are praying for the person who wronged you.
Pray for mercy for those we don’t see eye to eye with. When we want revenge, when we have been wronged, when we want everyone else to change to be like us; pray to grant and receive mercy. When we have the power to inflict harm with words and make judgements of who is right and who is wrong; pray for power to be replaced with mercy.
Pray for compassion for those who are suffering. Pray to know compassion for those who will forever more live without someone they love, for communities who have been shaken to their core, for those who live in fear of being pulled over. Pray to understand their suffering and pain.
Pray for grace to fall on those who are so angry they can’t see straight. For those who want to inflict harm, who want revenge, who want to divide; pray for them to know the grace and mercy of reconciliation and forgiveness.
We do not have to subscribe to a certain set of beliefs or creed to know mercy, compassion and grace. These things can be given and received but require a sacrifice.
Can we set aside pride and take up humility to create a new normal of mercy, compassion and grace?
I wish I knew. Until then I will continue seeking mercy, compassion and grace for our broken country.