A post to save the thoughts and prayers in the world.
While I have my opinions, I, for the most part, shy away from writing about politics or religion, which seems to eliminate many topics. I leave that for the stronger of heart. It could be said I write about life, but I think more accurately, I write about feelings associated with life. And while I don’t always write about happy topics, I try to find the positive in whatever I’m discussing. It can be a daunting task. Today is one of those days.
As our nation reels from yet another school shooting, I ask myself what I can possibly write about after this horrendous event that even remotely centers on the positive?
I know right now that the phrase “thoughts and prayers” is under attack, and rightfully so. It is a time for action in our country, not words. This post in no way takes issue with the point that many of our citizens are raising, “replace words with action.” I COMPLETELY AGREE.
But because I’m a wordsmith of sorts, I’d like to preserve the words “thoughts and prayers” for us commoners and instances when they might really send something of importance. Let’s not dump that phrase out in the bathwater, you know, the saying about the baby and the bathwater? Oh man, I always misquote the old sayings. Rick is surely shaking his head.
So, here’s my thinking, I’d like to keep that phrase alive because what is the alternative aside from no response, which might indeed be worse? We all need to believe we are supported in our most challenging times. And most people are not poets, nor do they know how to effectively communicate grief. They settle for sending phrases like “thoughts and prayers.” I also settle for the words if I’m sending it to someone I don’t know very well or at all. Here’s a recent personal story demonstrating what those simple words can mean in a bigger picture.
As I’ve mentioned, I live in a tiny town. It has one intersection of commerce, which includes a grocery store, pharmacy, optometrist, gas station, bank, flower shop, hair salon, post office, a few restaurants, a bar, dentist, and my favorite little wine tasting venue, Rosa-Lucca. I’m missing a few businesses, but you get the picture.
There is a coffee shop just as I enter the town, up a driveway to the right. A small trailer sits parked on the little lot. Welcome flags wave from the street, inviting patrons to slow down and stop in. An American flag waves proudly on a large flag pole in the center of the lot. You can drive through, pick up your coffee/food, and circle back out to the street.
While I’ve never frequented the coffee shop, I’ve heard people talking in the market about some of the great selections offered. A few months back, I’ve lost track of how many, I read a disturbing post on Nextdoor about someone’s child dying. And I will say now, before I write this, that I could be wrong on some of these facts. I never investigated. I put my ideas together based on what little I heard. And even if I am not accurate on what family lost their son, the message will still translate.
Putting what little I knew together, I felt that perhaps it was the child of the family who ran the coffee shop. The coffee shop sat quietly from that day forward, no cars driving through, no flags waving in the wind, and the American flag flying at half-mast. I sent my “thoughts and prayers” to the family each time I drove by.
Time passed. I never stopped checking in on the little shop. Then one day, I noticed a flyer on the notice board outside our Holiday Market announcing a celebration of life for an 18-year-old boy occurring the following Sunday. I stopped to read it and admired the sweet-looking young man in the photo. I had to dry my tears before I walked into the market. The following Sunday, I thought about the family sending them “thoughts and prayers.”
Time continued to pass, and the little shop showed no signs of reopening. I never stopped sending my thoughts and prayers that the grief-stricken family would find their way back to the living. And last week, on my way to Auburn, just as I was passing the driveway, I caught a glimpse of a waving flag. I slammed on my brakes (good thing I live in a little town with very little traffic).
There they were, all five or six of the welcome flags waving in the wind, and the American flag in the middle of the property no longer at half-mast. I cried all the way through the canyon, grateful for our ability to heal physically and emotionally; what a blessing that we can at times take for granted.
This family will likely never know me, nor will they know how many times I’ve sent them thoughts and prayers. I’m no one special, just one in the masses of amazing, incredible, compassionate, and loving people. Our thoughts have power, and our feelings are made of pure energy that can travel between us across the miles regardless of whether we understand how. I never underestimate the human spirit and what we are capable of.
Join me in sending thoughts and prayers to the families of the recent massacre. Let’s believe in our thoughts to help lift the victims and continue to remember them in the coming months. They will need our help.