A prayer for the innocents


Donna Arington Petraits

March 17, 2021

An ordinary day. Sun sinking on an early spring evening. Warm for March, and perfect for playing hide and seek in the woods. Small feet crush brittle leaves that hide the soft, green shoots of new life. A six-year-old dressed in purple; her soft brown curls tumbling out of a rainbow hair tie. Big brown eyes scan the trees and shrubs, heart races, hoping to catch him, her playmate.

Hundreds of times they had played the games that children play in the woods by the apartments. Hundreds of times they had scampered out of the woods when mothers called for dinner. Not that night. Only one of them came out of the woods that warm spring night.

A 14 year old boy, small for his age and thin. “Challenged” is how they describe him. The questions are many, but “WHY?” burns in the hearts of two grieving mothers, echoes down the hallways of the schools, and repeats in the whispered conversations.

God only knows. God knows. God . . .

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4) Lord, we know you have the answers, and you have the comfort – the balm to heal the hearts breaking under the weight of lives lost before they started.

Like a spring shower, rain your comfort and your abundant love upon the grieving and the grieved. Reveal to the parents and the caregivers the words they need to explain the unexplainable and the strength to calm the fears. Awaken the beauty of the woods to reveal its spring splendor. Let it become again a place of solace and joy.  Help them all know, that in time, and with your grace, the brittle leaves of their sorrow will give way to a tattered form of peace. 

In Memory of Grace

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