Perhaps you noticed that some of the year’s biggest incidents have passed me by.
Hurricanes Irma and Maria crushed Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as Antigua and Barbuda, and no post was written. A gunman in Las Vegas killed nearly 60 people and injured nearly 600, and again no post was written. And just last week Fr. Samaan Shehata became the newest Coptic martyr of 2017 (1734 A.M.), stabbed to death in Cairo in broad daylight, and still no post was written.
I wonder if you think these events escaped my notice. Or perhaps you think me uncaring or indifferent. Or maybe you think I am just so busy, too busy to spend much time dwelling on these tragic events.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Rather, the emotional burden of these tragedies has been like a vice to my air supply. At this point, I can hardly keep up with the horrifying headlines. God is my only refuge; prayer my only hope.
Perhaps, like me, you too are reaching the breaking point of hope under the strain of current events. Perhaps you too are finding that being an informed citizen is having the opposite effect of its intention. Instead of feeling empowered, we’re feeling disenfranchised. Instead of fueling good works, we’re retreating from our neighbors.
This week I have been reading Admiral William H. McRaven’s Make Your Bed. One of the lessons that really stuck with me was that no matter how dark it gets, you must complete the mission.
There have been so many dark days in the world, and 2017 seems so grim.
But we are called to be lights:
“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
So my message to you today is HOLD ON.
When you feel a tendency towards anger, hold on. When you feel hate or bitterness, hold on. When you feel resentment building, hold on. When you feel your heart grow cold and hard, hold on.
Hold on to the Light. Hold on to hope. Hold on to Christ. Hold on to His commandments. Hold on to God, together.
Last year for Advent, Copts across the globe took part in 10@10, a call to pray together, for each other for 10 min. at 10 p.m. local time. We’ll have more information as we get closer to Thanksgiving (U.S.) and the start of the Nativity Fast, but for now, you can take the pledge to pray with us.
The title of today’s post comes from an 80s Gloria Estefan love song. The speaker is going through a breakup, but all the things she wants to say are locked away in her heart. The emotional pain makes speaking impossible.
In 10@10, we can take all the words that are “locked deep inside” and bend them into heartfelt prayers set before the throne of the Almighty. So many people are hurting; so many people are suffering. While many of us are only witnesses to the pain of others, we can take that secondary trauma and do something useful with it. We can take these events as catalysts further into our spiritual journey. We can lift each other up in prayer.