Write Out of the Margins!

An American Woman's Prayer on September 14, 2001

Beloved One, Most Beautiful of all beings, Your love is with us, Your peace surrounds us, Your hand supports us, even now. Your light shines in our darkness and never goes out. Your perfection chastises us, Your love opens our hearts to admit our error, Your glory leads us on to change, Your mercy forgives us and gives us forgiveness of ourselves.

There are times in my grief and terror and pain and rage when I do not feel You, I do not see You, but I know You are still with me. When I doubt, I wait, for You will restore my faith. As low as my spirit may fall You will catch me. A far as I may wander lost you will find me.

I am crying, my God, people I love are crying, people I do not know but care about are crying in pain, in loss, in fear. I hear people ask "How could God have done this?" "How could God allow this to happen?" and I know that it is humans who have done this and humans who have allowed it to happen. That only makes my agony worse.

Even now, the innocent souls who died from the violence of September 11 are in Your love and care, in a new life and joy. We will mourn their painful deaths and our painful loss, as we must, but slowly we will release them to You and keep their memory still living.

We are Your hands and Your feet, and in Your love we will bind the wounds of body and heart in the people You lead us to. I am so limited and so helpless, God, and it hurts so much not to be able to help more. I will do what You give me to do, and offer up all else to You.

Save me from using the occasion of others pain and vulnerability to preach to them. My work is my worship, my Beloved. If I feel tempted to tell anyone what my Christian mission is, make me shut my mouth, dear God, and work harder to show it.

You are perfect in Truth and Understanding -- my understanding of your truth is not perfect. I may be wrong about anything. Help me listen to the beliefs of others with the respect that I want them to listen to mine. Help me to learn from everyone.

There is hatred like smoke in the air. Give me courage, God, to stand against it. Make me strong in the will for justice, and strong in opposition to injustice. I will not beg you for the lives of people who have dedicated themselves to death. I do beg you for the lives of the innocents around them. If innocents die, it will be humans who kill them -- but Grace can open human minds and hearts to change. Your Grace has kept us from our own destruction for eons. Bear with us a little longer, Lord. Bear us up in Your Grace.

God, in Your Grace give everyone in charge of finding and stopping the killers clarity of mind and purpose. A will for justice is not a will of anger. It is our imperfection that the only way we have to stop those who have dedicated themselves to death is to fulfill their death, to kill them. Dear God, make everyone who must kill grieve for the necessity, that we not pursue death beyond necessity. I am so terribly afraid that our purpose to protect human life and dignity will be taken over by the means we use, and our enemies will win by turning us into them. We've done it before, God, we've started out to help humans and ended up sacrificing them to the engine we created to help them. Open our hearts and minds with Your Grace and make us truly put the welfare of all ahead of our ideas of right and wrong. If we can find any other way than killing to stop further death, Lord, lead us to it.

Give me courage, please, the courage to stand against the wrongs of the terrorists and the wrongs of my country and my own wrongs.

I beg repeatedly for courage, because I am scared. I know from my own experience that if I go with Your inspiration I am not harmed, even in the midst of great danger, that I know what to say and what to do even in great emergency. But God, this is the greatest danger and the greatest emergency of my life. My country has been hurt on its own ground. On the one hand are servants of death who must be stopped before they bring the world down in flames to fuel their own ideas of glory. On the other hand are my own neighbors who cry for blood and in their helplessness and frustration turn on innocents because they cannot confront the guilty. I know what has happened to people in the past who have spoken out in criticism of their country's actions in such times of passion, and I know that the few words of anger I've received already are a faint shadow of what might happen if I continue to do as I feel I must.

Dear God, help me keep my sense of humor. I'm going to need it. Help me keep my eyes on life, and not on death; on hope, and not on fear; on love, and not on hate.

Please, please help me to root anger and hate out of my own heart. Help me to remove my own blind spots, and restore my perspective. Give me anyone whose different viewpoint can help me do that. Because God, I am so sorely angry, and You know it. I and my people have been frustrated and hurting for a long time, within this country, at street level. Hundreds of thousands of people go homeless and hungry, sick and untended, babies die every day, our men and women and children have suffered daily violence, and it has been pulling hen's teeth to get tuppence in help or relief from our government. But war gets instant billions out of Congress. I and my friends see daily injustice. People I know have been murdered, God, because they were homeless or female, people I know have been jailed or killed by police because they were homeless or mentally ill or black or Latino or a female in the wrong place, and our country gets self-righteous about another country abusing human rights! There I go again, God, I'm getting angry. Is this anger distorting my perspective, Lord? Open my mind and my heart with Your Grace and help me learn.

My anger does not lessen my grief for all those harmed by September 11 and its consequences. My anger does not lessen the wrong of that crime, nor the responsibility of those who committed it, nor my desire to see them stopped forever. But God, my anger burns higher whenever I hear any of my neighbors speak self-righteously about Us the Good Guys who are going to wipe out all Them the Bad Guys.

I will not help any of my people by berating anyone with my anger. Rein me, Lord, and keep the purpose of serving life forefront in my mind, ahead of my desire to voice my opinions. May my voice serve life, and not the other way around.

Open my mind to my own errors and give me light to change them, so that I will not be eager to find error in others and stubborn in condemning it. Open my heart to my own shames and give me love to correct them, so that I will not be eager to find fault in others, or to demonize them. Help me live my life in joy, that I may share life and joy. Save me from harm, and from inflicting harm.

Give me courage to speak when I do find error, and make me stubborn in resisting it. Make me compassionate when I do find fault in others. For every fault I find in another, Lord, remind me where I have done the same things. Please God, help me most to do this with George W. Bush, Jr., because that is particularly hard for me. Give me discernment to know the difference between the things I must try to change and the things that I can't. May I be silent and present for my beloved who drinks too much, until and unless he himself wants to change. If someone who is drinking tries to drive, help me stop him. If the leaders and people of my country are going to do something I believe harmful to life and the general welfare, help me stand against it. What they do that doesn't affect the life and welfare of the rest of us keep my nose out of, please, especially now.

Keep my eyes on Your Glory and keep me moving forward in life and growth. Help us to build a world in which everyone can live abundantly, in which everyone can learn and grow through their own free thinking and choices, in which everyone can live and work with and learn from others who have different cultures and beliefs. A world free of terrorism.


Related Links:
Terrorists Are Our Enemies. Muslims Aren't.
Life Is Our Victory
September 11 Activism Page
My Daily Log
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