Tonight, however, this open heart is a curse. Because I feel the suffering of my sisters and brothers. And I absorb the taunts of those who wish my children harm. And I shudder at the sounds of laughter and rejoicing over spilled blood. And I don’t see in the face of my neighbor another who is content with being my neighbor. And the voices of reason that provided me with hope just hours ago have been drowned out by the crowd applauding the gun shots in the theater of the absurd.
So in this moment I find myself closing my open heart to protect myself from the pain of all that suffering. And as the heart closes, I feel it hardening in anger and despair.
Please, God, slow my racing heart and grant me a few hours’ rest. And in my sleep, soften my heart again. Because I need to love. And I can’t truly love–even my own children–so long as this hardened heart beats within me. And once I can feel again, let the blessing-curse of my empathy move me to heal the sick, to comfort the mourner, and to set out rebuilding a shattered world.
In the words of Jeremiah from this past week’s haftarah, “Heal me, Adonai, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved.” Give me reason to praise You.