Picking my mother from the airport, I wasn’t sure what to expect. She had just spent 2 and a half weeks in Jakarta under the most trying of circumstances.
Her beloved niece had just been killed in a senseless car accident. Then, if dealing with the shock and pain wasn’t enough, she then witnessed said niece’s 14 year old daughter buried next to her mother. On her dead mother’s birthday.
I had wondered how my already frail, emotionally broken mother was going to carry her grieving sister’s heavy burden, consoling her through the grief.
As my mother quietly walked through the arrival gates, dad and I welcomed her with open arms, preparing her for a happy reunion.
All she could do was weep.
Back at home, we sat in a circle, as we often do when encountering difficult times and heartbreak as a family.
The conversation started getting heated, with mum telling stories about what she had experienced: who was blaming who; the hurtful and insensitive words from so-and-so during the funeral; the despicable topic of money.
So much obvious negativity and vitriol because let’s face it: times like this can bring out the worse in humans.
“Let’s pray” I finally said in my attempt to break the tension.
Surprising my mum, my dad and the other family members in the room, we all started to bow our heads.
I haven’t prayed aloud with my family in ages, hence their shock. But that morning, I prayed the most earnest prayer I have ever offered to my God.
First of all, I told Him that He obviously knew the pain we were all going through so I didn’t need to go through the gory details. Through the sobs I asked for strength and guidance. I also said I don’t know why it happened but I wasn’t going to ask Him why. As hard as it was, I was instead going to ask Him to help me turn to my faith.
But in a flood of tears my final plea to Him was:
“Please, please let us all be there for each other. Help us and guide us to get through this together. To forgive those who have done wrong by us in the past; to give them the love, strength and support that they need right now”
With the awful, tragic news of the Malaysian Airline disappearance, I keep seeing my Twitter feed filled with people desperately turning to prayer and hope.
Malaysia is very similar to Indonesia in regards to religious culture and its dominant Muslim presence.
With most Malaysians having a mixed ethnic background (mainly Chinese and Indian) but also influences from Persian, Arabic and British cultures, it’s an extremely multicultural country.
But again, despite differences, this is where everyone comes together. Just as they did for my cousin’s sudden passing, people are offering their prayers to the victims and families of those on that fateful flight. Prayers of hope and strength from the Higher Beings they know best.
It always takes my breath away when I see masses of people praying together.
It reminds me of the deep compassion we still possess as humans. Especially, in a world that can be so horribly cruel; when tragic events can make us shake our heads in utter disbelief.
And whether you believe in the power of prayer or meditation, all I can say is that with that prayer I made in that room with my family, I felt something lift from my shoulders. My heart felt a little lighter. The tears hadn’t stopped but I knew they flowed with purpose.
Because Someone was listening to me. Someone was weeping with me.