Posted in Raised by a village

Ribbons and Sand

I see multiple prayer requests on social media. I pray for healing of loved ones I’ll never meet, and sometimes I wonder if my responses matter. I mostly blog about goats, chickens and farm life because that’s normal. It’s controllable and goats make me happy.

Recently, I sat in a hospital chapel, surrounded by a comforting silence and at a complete loss of words to pray. I cried, I sobbed,  and yet words for a prayer did not form into cohesive sentences.

At the front of the chapel, glass vases sat on a table surrounded by candy dishes filled with colored sand. Each dish contained a small plastic communion cup.  A placard instructed visitors to think of someone, and pour a bit of sand into the vase. It was a community of prayers layered in colored sands of blue, yellow, brown, white and green. On another table, colored ribbons adorned grapevine wreaths with instructions of “say a prayer and tie a ribbon on the wreath.”

It reminded me of the thousands of ribbons tied to the Freedom Bridge fence at the DMZ in South Korea at Imjingak. I could not read the prayers in Korean, I knew they represented a person. The ribbons in the chapel also reminded me of the memorabilia tied to the security fence at the Oklahoma City memorial site.

I took comfort in knowing that my support network is strong. It struck me that those sands were like the ribbons at the Freedom Bridge: ways that people reached out in a time of uncertainty to find comfort. To some, the sands were just colored rocks, but to others, they represented a way to reach out and have a tangible link to others who needed to know that they were not alone. In the moment, the sand was a visible reminder of the interconnectedness we have with each other, even when we are guarding our hearts.

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