So I prayed about it for awhile, tried to call some people to talk to about it, couldn't reach anyone and at 9:13 pm on Thursday night, ended up sending out this email to a hundred or so people:
Prayer Vigil at Green Lake Park Community Center
Friday, August 19
Kids and dogs welcome. :)
Feel free to forward this to anyone who might need or want this information.
Like many of you, I have been deeply moved by the stories of the vigils in support of Cindy Sheehan. Those who support her have asked that the vigils continue with prayer on Friday. So, I'm inviting you to join me for a prayer vigil at Green Lake tomorrow (Friday, the 19th) in support of Cindy and other family members like her, in support of the troops, in support of peace.
If you are not able to come to the vigil itself, please consider taking a moment of prayer or silence tomorrow around noon wherever you are.
I dropped Elijah off at JJ's, which is where he goes on Friday mornings. I went to the copy store and made 20 copies of this then walked fast around Green Lake, until I was kind of sweaty, but much calmer. Then I sat by the walking path under a tree on which I had leaned a sign that said Pray For Peace and I sat quietly, most of the time with my eyes closed. No one else came to pray with me, but I didnt really expect them to. No one laughed or shouted or tried to kick me - turns out most people really steer clear of a person sitting under a tree next to a handpainted sign.
After about 25 minutes, which went surprisingly quickly, I felt really good - connected to God and empowered the way you are when you are really being deep and spiritual and quiet. But I still wasnt sure what I was supposed to be, you know, doing there.
I got up to throw my smoothie cup away, and there was JJ ! Who had brought some of the kids (she had six hanging around that day) to pray with me. Then JJ helped us all sing together, which made the kids kind of squrimy with embarrassment, but they sweetly did it anyway and then we started passing out the flyers, which lots of people took, smiling, and one woman asked me what group I was affiliated with and I was so startled I said, "um, unaffilated" before I remembered that I'm actually a pastor now, and I could, if I wanted to, claim affiliation to a church. And JJ said, "This is so GREAT! I'm ready to do this every week!" And she was right, it was great. And if felt like something we all should be doing more of - talking about peace with strangers as well as with people we love, praying about peace in public, as well as at home. So obvious, and yet it's so much easier to be crushed by despair instead.
But we're all of us, aren't we, walking this line between sacred and mundane all the time. Because just then I had to rush off to pick up Elijah (who was still at home with Steve). I took him with me while I went to get the van fixed way up in Edmonds and while we were waiting we walked to McDonalds (It seemed like I had earned it, somehow, after being so egregiously counter-cultural. But as always, a trip to McDonalds filled me with more regret than it was worth. And Eli wouldnt eat anything anyway, so I ended up with two orders of fries that I emphatically do not need.)
After that, we had to wait a really really really long time, and Elijah was a good as he could be, given that the place we had to wait only had one bathroom (and he's doing his best with toilet stuff but is not totally proficient yet) and it was also a wheelchair showroom, so I had to say about 3,458 times "Get off the wheelchair," "that is not a toy" and all the rest of what you'd think you'd have to say in a situation like that to a machine geek like my son. But I felt like I was holding it together pretty well. Until we got back in the van and I said in that chipper voice you can get on a sunny day when you're about to drive all the way through Seattle in rush hour traffic, "OhhhKAY, now we're going to pick up DAAAdy!" and Eli looked at me all cross in the rearview mirror and sighed through gritted teeth "What.Are.You.Talking.About?" He's just starting to speak in real sentences and he totally totally totally cracked me up when I realized that he was sounding just like I must have been sounding all day.
That night, I went with Cathy from church to see Joe Bean which I was moderately excited about but which kicked so much incredible ass that I was literally, actually (I hate to use a cliche like this, but it really is true) on the edge of my seat for two hours. I havent anything in a theater that was so funny, so heart-wrenchingly sad, so engaging, so smart, so relevant, and just so good in a really long time.
I tried, probably unsuccessfully, to describe the show and the rest of the day to Jeff and then he went to sleep, but I just kind of paced in circles for a couple of hours, which I dont usually do. But did I mention that last Friday was the full moon?
And here's what I came to at the end of that long long day. That I'm ready to go back out there. Ready to pray and pass out flyers about peace, just like a kook. Because if some more of us don't start making kooks of ourselves, there won't be anything to be kooky about, if you know what I mean. So look for me, next to the walking path, with my little handpainted sign and my flyers, and join me if you can. It'll be better than you think.