Tuesday, December 18, 2012
On December 6th, Bill O'Reilly reported that a six-year-old girl in North Carolina wrote a poem for Veteran's Day about her grandfathers who both served in Vietnam. In the poem, she wrote, "They prayed to God for peace. They prayed to God for strength." Someone complained, and the Superintendent of McDowell County Schools decided this child couldn't write about her grandfathers turning to God in times of trouble--at least not at school.
I prepared to write a post about all the books I love--from Katherine Paterson's Bridge to Terebithia and Kate Dicamillo's Because of Winn Dixie and my Arizona author friend Amy Dominy's debut novel, OyMG--that all have characters who pray. Maybe someday I will write that post and share quotes from those prayers, and my worries that we are replacing spirituality with magic, but not today.
The testimony of twenty first graders in Newtown, CT, speaks far louder that I ever could. As the entire nation, "prayed to God for strength" and "prayed to God for peace," we learned what the young girl in North Carolina learned from her grandfathers. God is there. He is real. He hears and answers prayers. And sends strength, peace, love and comfort. He soothes broken hearts and teaches us how to bind each others wounds.
I've felt His power in times of loss in my own life. In Leesie's words, "Happiness . . . filled me up. Tangible--like you could pour it from a pitcher." Like Leesie, I was "overcome" with the power of God's love. Prayer unlocks it. All you need to do is ask.
I don't know why a troubled young man shot those beautiful children in a sleepy Connecticut town, but I do know that now they are wrapped in God's loving arms--and he won't let them go until their parents are ready to join them forever.
All my love and prayers for you, my wonderful friends and readers, this season of celebration and goodwill,