I have a story to tell. It happened this past Sunday evening when my husband and I had settled into our living room couch with a bowl of popcorn filled to the brim. We were ready to participate in the all-American ritual of watching the big game. But somewhere in the second quarter, it all changed for me.
Later, I wrote a poem story about my evening.
The Super Bowl and the Bombs Super Bowl Sunday. I sat with my husband as the game began. He wanted to watch (he'd played in college), and I wanted to keep him company. I mostly caught the replays as I ran through my emails and planned my week. Then came the message tossed right into my box: "Meeting for silent prayer now! Murad in Rafah asks us for prayer now!" My friend Joe had written me. He'd worked with Murad in Gaza, teaching divided peoples ways to live in peace, teaching non-violent responses to those surrounded by strife. Together, Murad in Gaza and Joe in America built spaces where peace could grow. But now Murad texted to Joe: "Very violent bombing now -- in all of Rafah! We may be martyrs tonight. Pray for us, to save my family and the children." In my living room Super Bowl ads filled the screen: This is the beer to drink! This insurance will always protect you! Driving this car (or maybe this other one) will make you happy! And my friend Joe wrote "Join us on Zoom for prayer now. The need is immediate." Just silent words on my laptop screen; no drama of song or dance to coerce me. I left the TV and the Super Bowl, and the Chiefs and 49ers to battle to the end, and beyond the end. I left Travis and Taylor for others to watch. I left the adverts to scream their happiness directions for others to follow. I clicked on the Zoom link, and entered the place of prayer. Joe said he'd heard from Murad again. It was 3am in Gaza, "and the bombs are falling everywhere here. They may hit us at any time." We joined in prayer as the bombs fell. Together we wove a circle of Light around Murad and his family, around all of Rafah and Gaza and the world. The Chiefs won the Bowl in overtime. but when bombing is the game, no one wins. There's no shaking hands at the end of that game, no "Well played today!" from one team to another. When bombing is the game, we all lose.
If my poem story has spoken to you, please share it with others.
(Murad and his family survived that night’s bombing. Not all did.)