Children – they are our legacy…the next generation. As I watch children playing at the intermediate school across the street from my home; I hear their laughter as they swing or twirl in a circle, the arguments about whose turn it is, and the joy of chasing a ball kicked across the field. These are the experiences of childhood that should be common for us all.
Childhood experiences are changing as students practice active shooter drills and deal with the trauma of being injured or confronted by an active shooter, as well as the loss and grief of losing someone in their life to an active shooter – trauma that will endure for generations and extend into adulthood. The Washington Post reported more than 230 mass shootings in the United States since the beginning of 2022. Churches, schools, grocery stores, hospitals, and medical office buildings are becoming places of fear, loss, and grief.
Around the world, children are also being impacted by violence. UNICEF recently shared that more than 3 million children still inside Ukraine and 2.2 million children who now live as refugees need humanitarian assistance. The displacement of so many children is leading to a lack of educational and healthcare opportunities as well as increased risks for family separation and trafficking.
Healthcare workers from the Ukraine have shared these insights:
- “I am tired of all of this. I am very scared.”
- “It is quiet here now but at any moment everything can change…especially when the alarm sounds.”
- “Sometimes you forget about the war…but there is no confidence in the future. Very often you feel guilty. Guilty that in your region you have everything and have relative silence while others do not.” “There must be peace in the heart so as to not panic.”
- “I am safe now and your prayers gave me strength to go through all this fear. I can now safely respond to this message. The way was difficult. I saw broken tanks, burnt cars, houses, rockets stuck in the asphalt. There were many checkpoints and soldiers with machine guns.”
- “I pray and dream about peace.” “I hope on God and Ukrainian army.”
- “Now the air alarm sirens sound. I will get on my knees.”
- “Yes, the Lord has given me this ministry. These people are suffering from both physical pain and loneliness. We are trying to help them with our love.”
- “How does it feel to be on your guard all the time, to hold your prayer sword? We don’t sleep well, always on our knees asking for protection…”
As nurses and believers, our hearts are heavy. So many emotions swirl inside our hearts and minds. May this prayer by priest and author Henri Nouwen guide us as we pray for and serve communities both near and far. God, hear our cries.
Speak gently in my silence.
When the loud outer noises of my surroundings
and the loud inner noises of my fears
keep pulling me away from you,
help me to trust that you are still there
even when I am unable to hear you.
Give me ears to listen to your small, soft voice saying:
“Come to me, you who are overburdened, and I will give you rest…
for I am gentle and humble of heart.” Let that loving voice be my guide.
Christy Secor, RN, DNP, CDWF, is NCF’s Professional Ministries Director. She prays and cares for nurses and her community from her home in Wisconsin.
Pray with and for NCF using the monthly downloadable Prayer Calendar.
Add new comment