Mother & Daddy have a new favorite restaurant less than 5 minutes from their house. They enjoy the salads and some of their other menu items and have spoken highly of it to me multiple times. Visiting them this recently, I asked to go there; I like to be able to picture where they are, so I wanted to experience this place they enjoyed so much.
We had a great lunch and lovely conversation; the restaurant is comfortable and roomy, the personnel friendly and accommodating. It was a wonderful meal. But none of those things stood out as much as what we learned about our waitress, a woman in her early thirties if my guess is correct.
The woman chatted warmly and shared that she had moved to the area within the last five years. She had a bit of an accent, so one of us asked her where she had lived previously.
“I’ve been in the US since I was 11,” she said. “But I was born in Ukraine.”
We immediately expressed our grief over the war and asked if she had family there.
“Well yes. Actually we just buried my father a few months ago,” she said. “A missile came in through his apartment.”
Shocked–if unsurprised–we offered our sympathies.
“Thank you,” she said. “All we had of him to bury was one arm. Everything thing else. . .” she raised her hand and waved at nothing, “was gone.”
We were struggling to keep up with the pain.
“I didn’t go to the funeral,” she said, “because I have a 4 year old daughter. And of course I would love for her to see my country. . . ” her chin quivered as her eyes filled with tears, “but not like this. Not when it is so broken.”
Brokenness. It is certainly all around us. But since that conversation, I’ve been thinking specifically of the nation of Ukraine: its buildings blasted into rubble by bombs, its people huddled in shelters–if they make it in time. It’s an ugly, awful war, instigated by imperialistic greed. So right now, wherever you are, I invite you to pray with me for Ukraine.
A Prayer for Ukraine.
We pray for the people of Ukraine,
for all those suffering or afraid,
that you will be close to them and protect them.
We pray for world leaders,
for compassion, strength and wisdom to guide their choices.
We pray for the world
that in this moment of crisis,
we may reach out in solidarity
to our brothers and sisters in need.
May we walk in your ways
so that peace and justice
become a reality for the people of Ukraine
and for all the world.
And now, I invite you to take a minute to say the prayer my father says at the beginning of every day: “Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the gift of this new day….”
Gratitude. It’s a practice that helps us to see God at work in the world, even in the midst of the brokenness.