When the news rolled in about the shootings in Las Vegas early Monday, I immediately prayed for the Lord to be close to those who had faced unimaginable horror.
And after my sons left for school, my daughter and I climbed in my car, driving down pine-lined roads toward her school. We listened to radio reports of the events, both tearing up over stories told by people seeing the events in real time.
After we prayed for the victims and their families, I dropped her off at school. And then I did the only thing that made sense to me at 8am that morning:
I bought pumpkins.
Yep, I bought pumpkins. Saucer-shaped white pumpkins that I planted next to still-blooming geraniums on my deck.
Because when it seems that once again all hell has broken loose as evil boasts its ugliest, I have to turn my face toward beauty. And on that Monday, beauty looked like large $6 pumpkins piled in front of the grocery store.
Beauty looked like stopping and staring at the sky through canary yellow leaves or past a barn painted pumpkin spice.
Beauty looked like chopping up spinach and carrots for the Italian Wedding Soup I would feed my people for dinner.
Beauty looked like anything that reminded me of God’s unchanging promise of presence.
Amidst the placing pumpkins and stirring soup, I stumbled upon this prayer I wrote after a different tragedy. I’m adding it here today as well, with a few changes. May it be a comfort to anyone experiencing a season of much loss, especially if that loss holds few answers.
Lord, reveal yourself to those suffering today.
When the answers they need to receive don’t arrive, thank you for offering your hand in their place.
As their circumstances change, help them hold onto your unchanging promise of presence.
Give them peace about last words spoken and comfort in knowing what wasn’t said is still truly known.
Bring them safe people who create safe places for them to grieve any way they need.
Thank you for being the best kind of safe place, Lord. Our wounds are always safe in your presence.
Press each person’s ear to your heart as each person waits for answers, even as answers may not reach him or her till heaven.
Lord, those men and women missing spouses, cup their hurting hearts near yours.
Those babies missing parents, cradle them close and catch their tears.
Those mamas and daddies missing sons or daughters, tell them their children will never be forgotten.
To all those missing a loved one, may they know they don’t grieve alone.
May the hearts and minds of those who observed tragedy be renewed and healed.
May those wanting to help offer their quiet tears, prayers, and presence, and may you use them to divide the pain of those suffering.
Thank you that evil can be overcome with good. May we be overcomers bringing good into our lives and circles.
Show us what to do, Lord.
In the loving, ever-faithful name of Jesus,