Greetings from Chennai India where we are having a mind-bending, heart-opening experience. Please excuse the funky formatting which I blame on leaving my computer at home.
I have never felt so immersed in a culture that is teeming with life, contradictions and beauty. People, animals (cows, dogs, chickens, goats), motorcycles with superpowers (at least the drivers) are vying with smells of human waste, sharp spices, sweat and ripe fruit. The constant blare of horns (not in anger but as awareness) from cars, trucks, motorcycles and busses and their accompanying exhaust compete for my attention with women dressed in the most colorful saris, stunning flowers, piles of fruits and vegetables (a cart piled with cauliflower, another with watermelon,) laundry hanging on power lines and more people than I’ve ever seen. My mouth, throat and head which were exploding from spice the first few days, now look forward to the heat and pungent combination of tastes that were so new just a week ago. It’s been moving, exhausting, exhilarating and deeply powerful. And despite the chaos that is constant, when people meet one another, it’s with a greeting of Namaste – a moment of connection, calm and peace – hands together, a slight bow, eye contact, smile.
And, back at home, another senseless shooting. How to hold and take in this overwhelming sensory experience with its crushing, heartbreaking poverty and hear/read about this new act of violence, hatred and anger renders me speechless and sad beyond measure. But here, across the airwaves come some words to share from Rabbi Joe Black at Temple Emanuel in Denver, Colorado.
Opening Prayer For the Colorado State House in the Aftermath of a Tragedy February 15, 2018
Our God and God of all people,
God of the Rich and God of the poor.
God of the teacher and God of the student.
God of the families who wait in horror.
God of the dispatcher who hears screams of terror from under bloodied desks.
God of the first responder who bravely creeps through ravaged hallways.
God of the doctor who treats the wounded.
God of the rabbi, pastor, imam or priest who seeks words of comfort but comes up empty.
God of the young boy who sees his classmates die in front of him.
God of the weeping, raging, inconsolable mother who screams at the sight of her child’s lifeless body .
God of the shattered communities torn apart by senseless violence.
God of the legislators paralyzed by fear, partisanship, money and undue influence.
God of the Right.
God of the Left.
God who hears our prayers.
God who does not answer.
On this tragic day when we confront the aftermath of the 18th School shooting in our nation on the 46th day of this year, I do not feel like praying.
Our prayers have not stopped the bullets.
Our prayers have changed nothing.
Once again, a disturbed man with easy access to guns has squinted through the sights of a weapon, aimed, squeezed a trigger and taken out his depraved anger, pain and frustration on innocents: pure souls. Students and teachers. Brothers and sisters. Mothers and fathers- cut down in an instant by the power of hatred and technology.
We are guilty, O God.
We are guilty of inaction.
We are guilty of complacency.
We are guilty of allowing ourselves to be paralyzed by politics.
The blood of our children cries out from the ground.
The blood of police officers cut down in the line of duty flows through our streets.
I do not appeal to You on this terrible morning to change us. We can only do that ourselves.
Our enemies do not come only from far away places.
The monsters we fear live among us.
May those in this room who have the power to to make change find the courage to seek a pathway to sanity and hope.
May we hold ourselves and our leaders accountable.
Only then will our prayers be worthy of an answer.
Hope is evident
A Sign, A Farm, and the fury (and support) that followed- great piece from the Washington Post.
One teacher’s attempt to stop future shootings. Brilliant, hopeful.
Connect, love, gratitude, kindness- what are the words that guide your life?