As I turned off the lights and went to bed last night, I thought about the children living in the rubble of war-torn Gaza who are unable to turn off any lights because they have no electricity. As I laid my head down on my comfortable bed, the air-conditioning humming, car in the garage, a refrigerator full of food, all safe and sound for the night, I thought about that picture of those children I saw earlier in the day- the children of Gaza, a 5 year-old girl, her 8 year-old brother and 10 year-old sister.
After their home had been destroyed, mom and dad took their kids to seek shelter in a United Nations' School, but yesterday the "safe shelter" had also been bombed and so now there are no safe places anywhere in Gaza. So when night time comes along they find a floor in some corner and huddle in the darkness hoping that they will survive to see the light of day. Those children cringing in the darkness had lived with war every day of their entire lives. The 5 year-old had already gone through 3 wars. War is all they have ever known.
Last night as I lay in bed thinking about those kids, I remembered something that an elementary school teacher in Gaza recently said about the children of Gaza -it broke my heart to hear it. "They have forgotten how to love," the teacher said. "When you grow up knowing nothing but war, that's what happens to you."
This morning when I woke up to greet the sun I again thought about those three little kids huddled in the corner of that dark and scary room.
There is perhaps no more beautiful sight than to see the sun rise majestically over the eastern mountains here at my desert home, everything is bathed in the brightness and the brilliance of the dawning light. I am surrounded by light, every part of me is filled with light.
Every morning the rising sun makes me keenly aware of an abiding Holy Presence- an energy of Universal Love that flows in and through everyone and everything that "is." Every morning I am bathed in the light of Love and bask in an all-embracing presence of "God." So that's why I am so heart broken when I think about children who have forgotten how to love because they have known nothing but war all their lives.
As I sit in the sunlight bathed in the light of Love the morning I pray for those three children and for all the children of Gaza who have forgotten how to love. I don't say a bunch of prayers asking that God up there might do something to intervene and make it all better. Instead I pray for these children like I pray for people every day. As I bask in in the Light of Holy Presence, I picture them as they hide in fear in that dark corner and I bring them into the Light with me - into the energy of the all abiding Love who we call "God."
There is a very beautiful Buddhist "compassion" prayer (based on an ancient celtic Christian hymn) that I use from time to time when I pray for others by "bringing them into the light" - it seems perfect for this day as I think about the children of Gaza who have forgotten how to love:
Light before them, Light behind them.
Light at their left, Light at their right.
Light above them, Light beneath them.
Light be around them and preserve them
Light be always in their hearts
So be it!
So it is done!