How should we respond to tragedy?
A tear, a word seem not enough.
How do we relieve the feeling of dread,
deep in the pit of our stomach?

We shake our head and proclaim our disgust
but the despair lingers, like a heavy stench.
With every breath, we are a little short of air.
We breathe deeper, more deliberate,
and with more difficulty.
When it’s harder to breathe,
it’s harder to live.

We pause to focus.
Staring off at a point just beyond our monitor,
or beyond the condensation on our kitchen window,
or beyond the taillights in front of us.

We see the images of those we love flicker in our mind.
Like a vintage flip-book they move quickly,
one image to the next, blurring together
into a single image.
And that single image is the sum of our love,
the sum of our life.
That image burns deeper into our brain.
Reminding us of who we are, why we are,
and how vulnerable we are.

So we hug our children
as we hide tears in their hair.
We bend our backs and our knees
as we pray to our God.

We pray for protection.
We acknowledge our blessings.
We seek forgiveness for our faults.
We come a little closer to understanding
that that single, composite image of our beloved
is in fact the image of God.
But it occurs to us that God is so much more than that.
So we commit to expand our image
by loving more of those around us
and loving those around us more.