I’ve seen it happen. Maybe you have, too. In spite of the never-ending news cycle, it’s a slow fade that begins to occur about this time following a major national tragedy.
Shock has a shelf-life, with its rate of decay seemingly in proportion to one’s distance from or relationship to the violence.
I think this is why at the end of the day some of us are informed of the unthinkable, while others of us are affected by the unthinkable. Undoubtedly, we all have an emotional response, but the sad reality is that the increased repetition of these episodes, coupled with a lack of connection to those at the epicenter, whether intentional or not, tends to dull the potency of the horror.
I suppose all of this is fairly predicable, and perhaps a bit inevitable, but it’s also something that risks diminishing the perspective of those of us removed from the worst of it.
But here’s the good news. Our perspective can be adjusted. We can fight against the fade. It’ll take intention, courage and humility, but we can do it. Here’s a suggestion how:
Over the next five days, join me in praying these five short prayers, one each day (obviously this assumes faith in the existence of a God who hears and acts, so if you’re not yet to this point, perhaps you can think about one each day).
Magic words? Of course not. A pithy attempt to address a big issue? No. But petitions to help orient our focus and perspective at a crucial time? Absolutely.
(Wednesday) “God, as my life returns to the way it was, help me remember that there are those whose lives never will. Be close to them as they adjust to a new, unexpected, heart-wrenching normal.”
(Thursday) “God, my choices today will probably include an outfit, a meal, or a route home. Others are going to have to choose a funeral home, a casket or a headstone. Help me to not take for granted the mundane.”
(Friday) “As I start my weekend, God, help me just love people. Let me cast aside hidden hoops, qualified kindness and the tendency to huddle with people just like me. If I leave a residue this weekend, let it attract and not repel.”
(Saturday) “God, disrupt the plans of evil people. Let strategies that are meant for destruction be met with unexplained, overwhelming, debilitating complication.”
(Sunday) “As our country passionately debates, forgive us for doing it poorly. As we seek to make points, may we do so without making enemies. And may the memory of what happened a week ago soften our rough edges, remind us of what we have in common with one another, and cause us to believe you are who you claim to be…our present help in the time of trouble.
Let’s fight the fade.