When the airport security line becomes a place of prayer

When the airport security line becomes a place of prayer April 15, 2013

We will be watching the slow-mo horror of today’s bomb blasts in Boston over the next few days as we grieve those who lost their lives (two three at the time of this writing), reel in collective shock over the stories of those whose lives have been forever changed by injury and trauma, and adjust to the new version of normal in this country. We will watch that bomb blast footage over and over again until it becomes as familiar to us as the footage of planes crashing into towers, of children running in single-file lines away from schools, of smoke plumes pouring out of the windows of nondescript Federal office buildings smack-dab in the middle of flyover country.

All the metal detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs in the world can not make it yesterday ever again, before today’s terrible crisis happened. And when it becomes tomorrow, I suspect something will again change for all of us. We’ll add something new to our routines, a checkpoint, a detector, an additional security measure. We’ll add it to the new normal in our lives, another hassle of modern life just as we shed our shoes in airports or buzz closed-circuit cameras in order to enter our child’s school, and pretty soon we won’t even remember why we’re doing it.

How do we honor the lives of those who died today? How do we do something of meaning for those whose lives will never be the same because of two explosions at the finish line of a grueling race?

I don’t have many answers more than making a commitment to remember them. I want to use those ever-increasing security measures that will continue to be dolloped into all of our lives as an icon and a prompt to remember. And as I do, I will pray for families and survivors who’ve survived the terrorist attacks that prompted these measures.

Lord, please…comfort them tonight.

Teach us to pray.

“Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.” – Henri Nouwen

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