Posts Tagged ‘grieving’

 

Columbine, Again and Again

Posted on: February 15th, 2023 by Alden No Comments

In memorium for those who lost their lives at Michigan State University, and to all who were wounded physically or emotionally, I’ve added the school to “A Dream of Columbine: Psalm of Protest 13.” Here is a three-prayer liturgy also including “After Uvalde: The Court of the Innocent” and “After a Deadly Rampage.”

A Dream of Columbine: Psalm of Protest 13
A dream of Columbine High School,
When the U.S. was beset by guns.
Red with blood,
A dream of Thurston High, Red Lake High, Virginia Tech, and Michigan State University,
Wet with tears,
A nightmare of Sandy Hook and Robb Elementary.
A lament of guns and death,
At NIU, Marshall County High, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, Santa Fe High and Saugus High.
Crying out
With so many others,
Too many dead,
So many wounded and scarred.
Crying out,
O Columbine!
How long? How long? How long?

After Uvalde: The Court of the Innocent
The court of the innocent
At the gates of heaven
Is twenty-one souls larger today.
Two adults and nineteen children shot dead.
They bring their blood as evidence against us,
As evidence of our failure to protect them
And the impotence of our rage.

The court of the innocent
At the gates of heaven
Have stopped listening to our speeches.
They no longer say ‘amen’ to our prayers.
They have turned their backs to us,
As we have turned our backs to them.

The court of the innocent
At the gates of heaven
Minister to the souls of the newly murdered,
They minister to those cut down
By guns and violence,
By politics and inaction,
Tending to these recent companions in death,
Consoling their lifeless hearts.

After a Deadly Rampage
Author of life
Source and Creator,
Grant a perfect rest under Your tabernacle of peace
To the victims of the massacre
At Michigan State University,
Whose lives were cut off by violence,
A rampage of aggression beyond understanding.
Their hopes were severed.
Their dreams were lost to brutality.
May their souls be bound up in the bond of life,
A living blessing in our midst.
May they rest in peace.

G-d of justice and mercy,
Remember, too, the survivors of this attack,
Witnesses of shock, horror and dismay.
Ease their suffering and release their trauma
So that they recover lives of joy and wonder.
Grant them Your shelter and solace,
Blessing and renewal.
Grant them endurance to survive,
Strength to rebuild,
Faith to mourn,
And courage to heal.

Remember the families and friends
Of the dead and the wounded.
With comfort and consolation.
Grant them Your protection,
Your wholeness and healing.
May they find hope and renewal.

Heavenly Guide,
Source of love and shelter,
Put an end to anger, hatred and fear
And lead us to a time when
No one will suffer at the hand of another,
Speedily, in our day.

© 2012, 2022, and 2023 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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Postscript: See also “Against Gun Violence.”

Please check out These Words: Poetic Midrash on the Language of Torah and my other CCAR Press volumes: This Grateful Heart, This Joyous Soul, and This Precious Life, which can also be purchased as the Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter. For a taste of my teaching, see my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer.”

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Photo Source: Bridge Michigan

For George Floyd’s Family

Posted on: April 21st, 2021 by Alden No Comments

After a moment of joy and relief at the guilty verdicts in the murder of George Floyd, my overwhelming emotion is sorrow, my heart immediately with a daughter without her father and a brother without his brother. This is a prayer for justice and healing, my anger and indignation already expressed in “Strangled by Police: Psalm of Protest 17” which I’ve added here to create a two-prayer liturgy. Both pieces refer to Amos 5:24, envisioning a time when justice will flow as water.

For George Floyd’s Family
The courtroom is silent, for now,
But the walls echo with shouts from the streets,
Joy and relief for a verdict of guilty,
For a moment of truth, at long last.
But the heavens,
The heavens still weep
For the soul of a man taken too soon,
For another fatherless daughter,
And another brotherless brother,
For you, George Floyd,
For your family,
And for Duante Wright, Rayshard Brooks,
Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson,
And all – the named and the unknown –
Who’ve lost their lives at the hand of police
Because of the color of their skin.

Source of Peace,
The cost of freedom is so high,
Death and bereavement,
Pain and fear,
Sorrow and loss.
We will not cease the work of tikkun olam (repairing the world),
The work for pikuah nefesh (the sanctity of life),
Not until heaven can stop weeping for one more,
And one more,
And one more,
Dead.

G-d of love,
Send Your healing to the family of George Floyd,
Grant them continued strength,
Now and in the days and years to come.
Hold them,
Guide them,
Support them,
As they celebrate a righteous verdict,
And as they continue to grieve
A brother, a father, a man
Whose life was stolen,
Whose death trumpets
The call to action,
And a verdict that heralds
A renewed hope for the day
When “justice will well up as water,
And righteousness as a mighty stream.” (Amos 5:24)
May his soul be bound up in the bond of life,
A living blessing in our midst.

Strangled by Police: Psalm of Protest 17
A psalm of protest,
In memory of George Floyd,
Sung at the gates of justice,
When black men are strangled in the streets,
When power is abused and jails overflow,
When the voiceless are forgotten and minorities misused.
Open, you gates!
Open to the cries of those murdered, jailed or harassed
For being black,
For being a person of color,
For being homeless, indigent, destitute or unwanted,
The detained, the hounded,
The pursued and the persecuted,
Those who are killed while being restrained.
Open, you gates!
Let righteousness flow forth as living waters,
And truth flow forth as healing balm,
To still the hand of violence and hatred,
To cure the heart of bigotry and racism,
To herald fairness and equality,
And bring justice to this land.

“For George Floyd’s Family” is © 2021 and “Strangled by Police: Psalm of Protest 17” is © 2020 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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Please check out my CCAR Press Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. The individual books are: This Joyous Soul , This Grateful Heart, and This Precious Life. Here’s a link to my ELItalk, “Falling in Love with Prayer..” For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: Share My Lesson

Strangled by Police: Psalm of Protest 17

Posted on: May 29th, 2020 by Alden No Comments

This Psalm of Protest is in memory of George Floyd, killed by police in Minneapolis. With a knee on his neck, the officer pinned the unarmed and handcuffed Floyd to the ground as he pleaded for help.  This is a prayer against brutality, abuse of power and racism. I’m not anti-police, and have written several prayers for police and first responders. But be clear: no one should die in police custody. And systemic racism must end. Period. See also “For George Floyd’s Family.” Here are all of my Psalms of Protest.

Strangled by Police: Psalm of Protest 17
A psalm of protest,
In memory of George Floyd,
Sung at the gates of justice,
When black men are strangled in the streets,
When power is abused and jails overflow,
When the voiceless are forgotten and minorities misused.
Open, you gates!
Open to the cries of those murdered, jailed or harassed
For being black,
For being a person of color,
For being homeless, indigent, destitute or unwanted,
The detained, the hounded,
The pursued and the persecuted,
Those who are killed while being restrained.
Open, you gates!
Let righteousness flow forth as living waters,
And truth flow forth as healing balm,
To still the hand of violence and hatred,
To cure the heart of bigotry and racism,
To herald fairness and equality,
And bring justice to this land.

© 2020 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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Postscript: See also: “For George Floyd’s Family,“O Freedom: Psalm of Protest 14,” “A Dream of Columbine: Psalm of Protest 13,” and “Sing with Liberty: Psalm of Protest 15.” All of my Psalms of Protest can be found here.

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and my two CCAR Press books: This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: The New York Times

For Survivors of School Shootings

Posted on: March 31st, 2019 by Alden No Comments

Sydney Aiello / Jeremy Richman

This prayer is a response to three recent suicides. In the past week, Jeremy Richman, the father a first-grader killed in the Sandy Hook School shooting, was found dead of an apparent suicide. Days earlier, Parkland, Florida, was rocked by two apparent suicides involving survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School rampage, Sydney Aiello and an unnamed Parkland Student. Here’s are two related prayers: “For Terror Survivors” and “A Dream of Columbine: Psalm of Protest 13.”

For Survivors of School Shootings
O grief beyond consolation,
Release your grip
On the survivors of terror in our schools,
The witnesses of this violence,
And the families of the slain.

You who have endured this grievous loss,
You who have mourned and lamented,
Surely sorrow pierced your heart
When murder raged,
Staining your memory red with blood.
Let love bind your wounds.
Let tears sooth your soul.
Let your life be a tribute
To the memory of the lost.

G-d of compassion,
Heal the broken-hearted,
Comfort the bereft,
And bring solace to the hearts of the bereaved.
Make a swift end to the scourge of terror in our schools,
And let the souls of the innocent
Rest in peace.

© 2019 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
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Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: CNN

A Dream of Columbine: Psalm of Protest 13

Posted on: February 2nd, 2019 by Alden No Comments

The massacre at Columbine High school took place more than 20 years ago. And still, we have school shooting after school shooting. This Psalm of Protest, listing school shootings, imagines that those schools stand as witness against all gun violence, as witness against all mass murder. See also, “Against Gun Violence” and “In Memorium: Sandy Hook.”

Addendum: Written in 2019, this has been updated on May 25, 2022, to include Robb Elementary School, Uvalde, Texas.

A Dream of Columbine: Psalm of Protest 13
A dream of Columbine High School,
When the U.S. was beset by guns.
Red with blood,
A dream of Thurston High, Red Lake High and Virginia Tech.
Wet with tears,
A nightmare of Sandy Hook and Robb Elementary.
A lament of guns and death,
At NIU, Marshall County High, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, Santa Fe High and Saugus High.
Crying out
With so many others,
Too many dead,
So many wounded and scarred.
Crying out,
O Columbine!
How long? How long? How long?

© 2022 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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Postscript: See also: “Psalms of Protest 1, and 3,” Psalms of Protest 4, 5 and 6,” “Psalms of Protest 7-10,” “#MeToo, No More: Psalm of Protest 11” and “Psalm of Protest 12.”

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: NBC12

For My Children as I Enter Hospice Care

Posted on: January 27th, 2016 by Alden No Comments

hospice-handsThis is prayer of contemplation and love for a difficult moment that forces a family to recognize the fragility of life and inevitability of death. It appears in my book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing. Optional inserts appear in [brackets]. Fill in details using the blank lines and following the instructions in (parentheses).

For My Children as I Enter Hospice Care
My G-d,
In the days ahead,
[The weeks and the months,]
I will face challenges as I surrender to _____________ (name of the disease).
My heart and my hopes,
My love and my questions,
Also turn toward my children [and grandchildren].
How will they cope?
How will they continue?
How will their experience of my passing
Shape their lives?

This I pray:
In the time that remains,
Let me be a source of love,
A light of comfort,
A lamp of hope,
A well of blessings.
Grant me the ability to care for my children,
Even as they yearn to provide support and understanding for me.

[Optional insert: Repeat the following paragraph for each child]
Bless my child ___________ (child’s name)
Who _____________ (thoughts about what he/she is feeling now)
With _____________ (specific concerns and prayer for that child).

G-d of health and healing,
Watch over my children
In their hour of need.
Watch over them when I have departed.
Let our love for each other
Shine brightly through the days ahead,
So that it lasts beyond the length of my days,
As a testimony to your Holy Name.

© 2016 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here are two additional prayers about entering hospice. Other healing prayers from Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing include: “For Surgery,” “Upon Recovery from Surgery,” “For a Critically-Ill Child,” “For a Critically-Ill Mother,” “For a Critically Ill Father” and “For Healing the Spirit.”

Please consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing. For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: Here Women Talk

Chukat: Living Waters

Posted on: June 21st, 2015 by Alden No Comments

living waterIn Chukat, this week’s parasha, the prophet Miriam dies. After she’s buried, the scene abruptly shifts to the lack of water in the wilderness. We’re left wondering: How did the people mourn her loss? To get water, G-d tells Moses to gather the people and speak with a rock. Instead, Moses strikes the rock with his staff. Water pours out. Rabbi Sharyn Henry notes that Moses hasn’t yet mourned for Miriam. Striking the rock, she says, is his reaction to unexpressed grief. The water and his tears are the same. This prayer is based on Rabbi Henry’s midrash.

Living Waters
Let the well of living waters
Flow through me
From the Source,
From ancient pools
Of holiness and light,
Ancient pools that sustain the body
And soothe the heart.

My grief has turned
My heart to stone,
My sorrow and loneliness
Have hardened my veins.
Crack me open with Your divine rod.
Release my tears with your staff.
Let me know wholeness
And peace,
Once again.

© 2015 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: As a result of striking the rock, Moses is denied entry to the Promised Land. Rabbis have struggled with explaining why so small a sin would yield so major a punishment. One common explanation is that, with his act, Moses diminished a miracle of G-d. I propose taking Rabbi Henry’s midrash a step further to explain Moses’ punishment, as well. Moses has a direct and intimate relationship with G-d; we’re told that that relationship is unlike any that came before or will come after. Instead of turning to G-d for healing, Moses holds his grief inside and finally lashes out. He, of all people, should have known to turn to G-d. Perhaps his sin can be understood as withdrawing from G-d. For Moses, that would be quite a sin, indeed.

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Photo Source: Diodocs

Passing of a Beloved Pet

Posted on: December 21st, 2014 by Alden No Comments

LovieWhen a beloved pet passes away, many of us struggle with the loss of a dear, loving presence, the loss of companionship and a true friend. Optional language appears in [brackets], including a request for forgiveness if the pet needed to be euthanized. Blanks are for including the pet’s name and the type of pet. Other choices are shown with a slash (“/”). This is a photo of my daughter’s cat Lovie, who recently passed away. This prayer appears in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

Passing of a Beloved Pet
In sorrow and love
I/We remember ______________ (pet’s name)
Our beloved __________ (type of pet: dog, cat, etc.)
Who provided [years of] companionship
And endless joy.
You were more than a pet to me/us,
Becoming a member of my/our family,
Providing consolation in times of loss,
Giving me/us laughter and delight
And a sense of well-being,
Rich with memories,
Rich in love.
The pain is deep.
The empty space,
Too wide to comprehend.

[Forgive me/us, dear ______________ (pet’s name),
For my/our decision to remove you from
The suffering you endured.
We/I did it with deep sorrow
Placing kindness for you above
My/Our desire for more time together.]

G-d of the bereaved,
Grant me/us find solace in the days ahead,
And peace of mind as time passes.
Let my/our memories of the time/years together
With ______________ (pet’s name)
Be an endless source of wonder
In tribute to his/her memory.

Rest in peace.

© 2017 CCAR Press from This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers For a New Day

Postscript: This appears in my new book This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press. Here’s a list of memorial and yizkor prayers, many of which appear in my book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.

Please check out my Meet the Author video and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. Please consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing. For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: Nikki Braziel-Solovy

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