When I started this intention, to post 365 days of prayer, it was with my son’s departure for the military. It’s been two weeks since I’ve posted, but I pray daily, and far more than once.
COVID-19 has been a shock and a gift. Yes, I realize that to call something so deadly and so invisible a “gift” may not be in everybody’s vocabulary. It’s horrible, but the air is cleaner, I am seeing more wildlife, people I meet are very considerate of maintaining the six-foot distance rule. There will never be “normal” again in the same way we previously understood it. COVID-19 has forced us to step back, become accountable, and to have a deep look at ourselves. We become more present to the moment we are in and to those we love. Those of us who do that work of self-examining are not wasting any time. We take time. We are not rushing. We say “I love you” often, just in case that second chance does not come. We are more considerate of our elderly and our young.
Dear Heavenly Father and Earthly Mother, I bow before the presence of the Holy. I recognize that powers exist greater than me. I pray that this pandemic be eased, that people be healed, that humanity does the hard work of rising above its own fear, its own anger, its own shit. I thank you that some of the beauty of Earth has been restored by this time out from human industry. Let us make beauty born of our creativity and our caring for one another. Forgive us for our previous greed, and heal that, that we care more for one another than our monetary gain, that we care more for the planet than to rape her over and over for the profit of the few to the detriment of the many. Let us find joy in simply existing. In the work of our hands and minds. Let me make something better today for someone else. Let women plant trees, sing more songs, have time for tenderness for their children. I pray for the safety of my son in the military. I pray for every mother’s child in the military. Bring them home, dear ones, alive and well to the joy of their kinfolk. Teach me what to pray for as we endure this time of stopping. Gift me the words to comfort others who have lost their loved ones. Let no one die alone. Let the loved ones who have preceded them to the “other side” be there for them now as their physical loved ones cannot. I don’t know what else to pray for tonight. Guide us all through the night with your love and caring. Amen.
When my son joined the military I was tossed back on old emotions that I repressed until I could feel safe dealing with them. I was not a conventional mother. My son went to school with his dad. His dad has the farm and that is where my son wanted to be. He wanted to be with me too, but I could no longer be with his dad. The shadows between his dad and I drove me away.
I loved my son with all that was in me to love him. I had him summers and weekends until he was old enough to want to build deeper ties with his friends than his mom. I was the best mom I knew how to be given the circumstances of my life, and yet, being his mom, I still have incredible feelings of guilt that do nothing for anyone, not even me! I broke my own heart when I chose to let my child go to school with his dad, and I have not yet managed to live down my own self-betrayal.
With all of this inner discord recognized, my son’s choice to join the military meant that I had to deal with my own inner shit. I could not ask the question, why would you make this choice. He had already made it. We had already discussed it. He had talked about it separately with his dad and me. It quite simply was what he wants to do.
Now with all the stupidity going on in government, I may have to prepare my heart that my child, yes, the one that grew inside me and that I birthed into the world, that one, may get sent into some very risky areas of the world. What I have to comfort me is that I have not let the moments to make memories go. He came home and surprised me over Christmas. I got out to see his graduation from Marine Boot Camp.
I am not alone in sending children off to the military. Many, many mothers before me have seen their sons and daughters off to prove their mettle under the duress of war. I am less afraid for my son than I am my own broken heart, and this… This attitude does not seem worthy to me for the kind of man my son has become. But I put it out here, because these tender and heart racking emotions are what the gift of prayer is for.
Creator, when my son told me he wanted to serve in the Marines, my heart knew fear. What parent sees their child enter the arena of war without a healthy awareness of just what could happen? But God, this isn’t all I am feeling. Any mother’s son could be my son in this moment. We love them and we miss them and we hold them close to our hearts, for any of them could be my son’s comrades in arms, and they all hold each others’ backs. Let us hold theirs on the home front while they are on the battle front. Let us hold the victory. Let us see our children safely home after the battle is won. Let our hearts be glad again, always, in the coming together again. Amen.