9/11 and doodle prayers

Dear President Trump,

I promised you more from yesterday’s church service, but first I want to pause and recognize that today is the 16th anniversary of 9/11. I imagine you remember where you were when you found out what was happening and since you were probably in NYC I’m guessing your first reaction was terror followed by rage. We were in Tillamook, Oregon at a small petting zoo with goats and pigs and chickens. Iris was almost two and was having a lovely time mucking around in the muddy hay trying to get the pigs to let her pet them when we heard a crackly emergency broadcast on the radio in the little adjacent store saying something about an airplane hitting one of the twin towers and President Bush being safely up in Air Force One. As we headed to Portland to be with my mom we heard more on the car radio about what was happening and I kept asking what we did to provoke the attacks. I know I had the luxury of distance to focus on this aspect of it, but I still think the context of those attacks is important just as the contexts from which migrants are fleeing when they go to other countries undocumented are important. We may not be able to see the causes behind the effects clearly or immediately, but they are there.

One of the many sweet things that happened in church yesterday was that our layperson in charge of Sunday school taught the children and the rest of the congregation about how to use doodling for prayer. She drew a loopy doodle on a white board and then had the kids tell her what they’d like to pray for, filling in one of the loops with each prayer. One boy prayed for his teacher who is waiting for a kidney transplant, a girl prayed for her brother who is having a tough transition to college, a couple of kids prayed about school, one prayed for her grandmother, and one explained that his teacher moved from Houston last year so he wanted to pray for her old students. I love that we are incorporating more space for out loud prayers about what is on our hearts; it’s letting us have glimpses into each other’s lives and helping us build stronger community. When we take care of the connections between us we see healthier cause and effect relationships.

I’ll have to tell you about the walker tomorrow.

May our actions be free of harm.
May our actions promote true happiness.
May our actions support everyone’s health.
May our actions build bridges and foster community.

Tracy Simpson

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