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A Prayer For Orlando

 

A Prayer for Orlando

 
Fifty.
Today, a number of tragedy
symbol of guns drawn, shots fired, sheer horror.
I prayed that it was not religious extremism.
But it was.
Again.
Once more, lives lost senselessly invoking the name of God.
And so I grieve.
I let myself feel the grief and the tears.

Fifty is not just a number.
Fifty points to brothers
Sisters
Mothers and fathers
Sons, daughters, and friends
Lovers, partners, spouses.
Lost.

I hear violence so often
And shut down from tragedy fatigue.
But lives are not numbers.
These were precious, sacred lives
Lives cut too short
Lives targeted for their identity;
For their sexuality.

Today I grieve for the victims and pray for the loved ones.
I grieve for the perpetrator.
What hurt did he have in his heart
that he felt violence could solve?
What anger and immense grief did he carry
that he thought could be healed by harming others?
Today I grieve at the fear and shame that men internalize,
manifesting as rage.
Today I grieve at fear once again used in the name of God
and of religion.
God never inspires hate, fear, prejudice, or violence,
But only love.
Only peace.

And so, in the days ahead, as we wipe away the tears
I ask myself,
“What can I do?”
“What can I do in the service of love today?”
“What can I do to bring peace to hearts today?”
“What legislation can I help change today?”
Today my prayer is this:
A prayer for healing
A prayer for love
A prayer for courage to do the next right thing.

Let’s put aside our differences
And remember these fifty lives lost-
lives of friends and families, partners, spouses, and children.
And let’s let our lives be a legacy of remembrance to them,
So that we never have to pray this prayer again.

Amen.

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