Thursday, November 15, 2012

A mother's prayer from Israel

Another piece from my cousin Danielle Rubin from Israel.  (First published on CNN iReport)
 Imagine the following scenario.
It's seven a.m. and you have just finished dressing your kids for school. Your oldest son is busy jumping on your bed, the baby is whimpering because he's ready for another nap, and your two-year-old daughter is showing off her pearly-white teeth, complimenting herself very loudly on a brush well done. You and your husband are debating who should drop off which child and when. Between all the jumping, whining and giggling you wish you could stay in bed and didn't have to drive to work. Just a normal day, right?
Well, not quite. Because then the siren goes off. Not quite sure how sirens fit in to this mundane story? You see, in my world, these sirens exist. They warn us when a rocket has been launched from Gaza, granting us forty seconds to run for shelter, forty seconds to grab our children and run for our lives.
We all hear it together and we know the drill well: last night, shortly after nine o'clock, there was another missile attack. Last week we had two attacks. The kids know what to do. My four-year-old son was in the protected area within seconds. I could have sworn he got from one room to the next in a leap. I grab my daughter, who has a tendency to freeze when she hears the siren, and my husband takes the baby, whose sobs have in the meantime turned into wails. We crouch down together against the wall and listen as the siren dies out, anticipating the boom. But the silence is broken first when my son speaks.
" I-will-lift-up-mine-eyes-unto-the-hills-from-whence-cometh-my-help ." It's Psalm 121.  Me-ayin ya-vo ez-ri . I know the words well. But the voice I do not recognize. Half-quivering, half-confident, I sense in his recitation a sound no parent should hear in their child's voice.
I sense fear.
" My help cometh from the Lord, who made heaven and earth ." I don't even hear the boom, which is surprising since the rocket landed just  two blocks away, demolishing a house, causing much destruction to the neighborhood, endangering the lives of dozens who were waiting for the bus to go to work or school (26 people were treated for shock). All I hear is the voice of a child, desperately trying to shed some light, gain some understanding of his chaotic reality.
" The Lord is thy keeper; the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand ." He's four years old. He doesn't understand the concept of death. He doesn't know a thing about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He has never heard of terrorism, of shooting unarmed civilians day and night.
But he knows fear. He lives it.
Dear God, please let tomorrow be a normal day.


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