The Modern Today Show Prayer
Somewhere far away
Change the lives of thousands
In an instant
An earthquake or wind or water, Nature,
Sweeps away cities of nations of people
A chaotic wake
And the Modern Today Show Prayer
Instantly tumbling from every lip like water
Cascading and rushing forth
“We send our thoughts and prayers
The Suffering, the Broken Hearted, the Lost,
And to the Dead“
“Our thoughts and prayers are all for you”
The next day when another shot rings out
And You are forgotten
Still the Modern Today Show Prayer echoes
Through every mind and from every mouth
But no one’s heart
The prayer, cloned from screen to screen,
Spurred by guilt
Each offers it back and to each other, fulfilling
And then you feel at peace, having done
To show that you have done your part
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to you”
But that’s all
-Eric Halpenny, November 6, 2017
What Did I Just Read?
I woke up today with the words of this poem in my head and I had to write it down. But honestly I was afraid to post it, so I’m pressing “Publish” before I can talk myself out of it. Poems are pretty personal to begin with, especially ones like this. And besides that, this is the kind that might offend someone.
There was another shooting yesterday, at a church in Texas. I don’t know why, and I really don’t want to know. Trying to find the “why” almost makes it seem like there could be a legitimate reason that people are looking for to make it okay. As if we could find an explanation that would make us say, “oh, okay, I get it now. Makes sense.”
No. There is nothing that justifies it. There are no whys that matter and no amount of bluster will fix it. I’m not going to touch any of the usual topics that come up in American news media either. The endless debates and outrage seem futile to me. There is no real communication, no dialogue, and no listening in that debate. There is only noise.
I think it’s the same with disasters and catastrophic events. There is the never-ending well-wishers, and then the small number of doers. Those in need need doers.
All I want to say is this: Do something good in the world today. And tomorrow. And every tomorrow. I don’t mind that people say they are sending good thoughts to another person or that they will pray for them. That wasn’t my point. We can always use more goodwill and prayer. But neither of those things, even with the best intentions, are enough if your commitment ends there. Take action. Make a difference.