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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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'Teach one another a lament'

We sit in a rocking chair, my daughter and I, by the open front window. The night, unusually warm for March. She points to the shadows on the ceiling from the night-light glowing softly next to us. A plane flies overhead. She notices; her hearing is good. And I stroke her legs, strong and unbruised. She begins to suck her thumb, pulls her blanket close to her, and drifts to sleep, unafraid.

I hold my sleeping daughter in my arms and think of children who fear the sound of a plane tonight—whose bodies are weak and who are afraid to close their eyes. I think of children whose parents aren’t home to rock them—whose parents may never come home.

“Now, O women, hear the word of the Lord; open your ears to the words of his mouth. Teach your daughters how to wail; teach one another a lament. Death has climbed in through our windows and has entered our fortresses; it has cut off the children from the streets and the young men from the public squares” (Jeremiah 9:20-21).

As I walk down the hall with my child’s limp body in my arms, I imagine that it is her broken body I carry. I do this, because I know that somewhere, at this moment, it is true.


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