Twenty Prayers after Newtown

December 15, 2012

As I prayed today for the families of those 20 children killed in Newtown, I found my prayers felt a little too vague, even as I prayed for peace and strength and courage for “all of them.”  So I decided to think about and try to imagine some possible last moments those children may have had with their families on the morning of December 14…last moments that will be forever etched in the hearts of minds of those left behind.  And so I prayed:

a prayer for the mother who lovingly packed her little boy’s lunch and kissed him good-bye as he hopped on the bus

a prayer for the father who walked his daughter to the bus stop and waved with a warm smile as she drove away

a prayer for the older sister who teased her younger brother and scoffed at his fears of not doing well on his vocabulary test

a prayer for the father who spoke gruffly to his son because he was day-dreaming instead of eating his breakfast

a prayer for the older brother who gave his little sis a high five as she grabbed her backpack and raced out the door

a prayer for the mother who reminded her son to be very, very careful crossing the street and not ever to talk to a stranger

a prayer for the grandmother who texted her grandson as she did every morning to say, “hope u have a really nice day”

a prayer for the mother who resented having to get up so early and couldn’t wait for her daughter to go out the door so she could go back to her warm covers

a prayer for the father who teasingly pulled his daughter’s braids and told her “how pretty you look today”

a prayer for the little brother who watched his big sister pack up her books and wondered when he would ever be lucky enough to go to school

a prayer for the mother and father who stood together at the window and beamed their pride and love as their daughter waved from the front yard

a prayer for the mother who was worried about her son’s cough—should she let him go to school or not…?

a prayer for the father who said to his son who didn’t much like his breakfast, “When are you going to grow up and stop whining about everything?”

a prayer for the mother who hugged her child and told her she couldn’t wait to see her after school

a prayer for the older brother who told his little sister that he thought she looked pretty silly in that bright orange hat

a prayer for the grandfather who couldn’t leave his chair but called out to his granddaughter a hearty “good-bye and don’t forget to be good”

a prayer for the mother and father who scowled at each other across their cups of coffee and failed to see their daughter’s un-ease with their angry silence

a prayer for the baby who giggled with glee as his big brother tickled his stomach on his way out the door

a prayer for the father who kidded with his son and told him not to tease the girls too much

a prayer for the father and mother who each gave their daughter a big bear hug and told her how much they loved her

And then I prayed for all of us, that we might have greater patience, greater love, and a greater awareness of the treasure of each moment we have with those we love.

5 thoughts on “Twenty Prayers after Newtown

  1. Thank you, Norm. We’ve all struggled, I think, to find ways to deal with this terrible tragedy. It helped me to simply try to imagine all of these scenarios–the families became just a little more real for me this way.

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