Don Samuels is CEO of MicroGrants. He was previously a member of the Board of Minneapolis Public Schools (2015-2019) and on the Minneapolis City Council (2013-2015). Don is an honorary member of the St. John’s Episcopals! This month, he and his wife Sondra organized 30 Days of Silent Prayer: Healing the Heart of Our City, an opportunity for public prayer from 10 am to 7 pm at 912 W. Broadway Avenue through July 31st. Don wrote the following three prayer poems as starting points for people as they came to pray.
Grief is not merely a painful inconvenience
It is a natural part of healing
It is not something to avoid or resent
It is the very first step on our path to recovery.
If we do not transform our pain,
It is certain we will transmit it.
We grow either through great pain or great love
But by far, we mostly grow through great pain
Weeping may endure for a night
But Joy comes in the morning
I’m so glad, trouble don’t last always
Behind every dark cloud, there is a silver lining
“This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles”
“I love the Lord, He heard my cry
And pitied every groan”
Trauma not grieved turns from sadness to anger
Anger, not transformed turns to violence
Violence creates more pain and so it continues.
But grief interrupts generational trauma
If we have the patience to willingly grieve
If we can sit with the pain of our trauma for a while,
Then we will emerge on the other side of grief,
Wiser, better, nobler, humbler, happier,
And stronger in our broken places
We don’t know what to do.
The murder of George Floyd, the Corona crisis,
The looting and the burning,
The gun violence and discord with police,
Have created layers of trauma.
And we do not know what to do.
We don’t know what to do about racism, about policing
We don’t know if businesses and jobs will come back.
We don’t know how to help our young people, lost to violence.
We don’t know how to live in peace.
We don’t know when the virus will end.
We don’t know where we go from here.
It would be easy to despair.
But not knowing what to do is actually a spiritual opportunity.
It is acknowledgement of our limitations
It’s an opening for God to intervene
And our preparation to create a new world.
So, we move into this period of not knowing with courage,
Because this is the path to growth and change.
We will use this next 8 minutes and 46 seconds in that spirit,
Let’s practice sitting in openness to God’s direction.
So that we will be able to take new action.
That we might not have been ready for before.
Now, dream of the world as you think it should be
Dream of the champion you wish you could be
Make that dream a promise to the future
Let’s step out together on the path to fulfill it.
Don’t say no to your brilliant aspirations
Welcome the yearnings of the child you once were
The world will be beautiful because you are in it
Because you have conspired to act for its beauty
Dream again of justice that gushes
Become like a river, feeding its flow
Pray with audacity for what seems outrageous,
Like Peace on Earth and Good will to All
Pray for the children as if they were yours.
Pray for the homeless as if that was you
Pray for the stranger as if she were your sister
And pray for the poor as if they are God’s focus.
Pray with love and hope and peace,
Pray with kindness, goodness, joy,
Pray with compassion. Pray with power.
Then, in the Amen, Become your prayer