When I’m Paralyzed by the News


I’m sure I’m not the only one paralyzed by the news. I wish I had the words. I wish I had any words that would help at all, that would help the kids at the border, that would speak sense to an administration that doesn’t seem to value sense, that won’t be talked to.

I try to take a break. I try to stay off Twitter and Facebook and three hours later when I am just checking something real quick, I see a picture of the First Lady that I am sure is a fake. It is real.

I feel totally frozen. Do I sit and listen to the voices of the crying children? Is it my responsibility not to turn away? Or do I get in my car and drive to the southern border? Do I even know where to look? If I did that, would I actually be helping? How can I help? How can I make this stop?

I believe in a God who sides with the poor, the oppressed, the refugees escaping from those who are hurting them. I believe in a God who wants us to walk toward justice and have mercy on our fellow man. I want to do that. I want to participate in that. But I am so frozen in horror.

I call my congressmen, I email, I give what I can to the people who are actually qualified to do the work. But then what? Surely, surely there has to be more.

What can a girl who really only has her words do to stop the horrors of a whole government? Even if it is her government. What else could I possibly do?

I built a labyrinth.

That is what I could possibly do. I collected old bricks and formed them into a series of circles. I put them in the yard of the church where I pastor. I can’t keep the doors open all day and night, but I can keep the prayer labyrinth open. Anyone can walk it. Anyone can pray.

When I come to the end of myself, when I have fretted and freaked, when I have refreshed my Twitter feed and read everything there is to read about childhood trauma, when I have come to the end of myself, finally I do something useful.

I pray.

I pray to a God who I believe sides with the poor, the oppressed, and the refugees escaping from those who are hurting them. I pray to a God who wants us to walk toward justice and have mercy on our fellow man. I walk in and out of a broken little prayer labyrinth and I pray. I call. I email. I donate. But mostly I pray. Mostly with my feet, to a God who sides with the refugee.

Abby Norman
Abby Norman lives, and loves in the city of Atlanta. She lives with her two hilarious children and a husband that doubles as her biggest fan. When not mothering, teaching, parenting or “wifeing”, she blogs at accidentaldevotional.com. Abby loves to make up words and is excited by the idea that Miriam Webster says you can verb things.
Abby Norman

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  1. Yes, yes, YES! Prayer feels so passive but it’s possibly the most action-oriented thing we can do! (One reason I love the labyrinth: you get to DO something while you pray, even if it’s just walking!). Thank you for this call to arms!

  2. Sandy Hay says:

    Oh Abby. You have written some of what I’ve been thinking, wallowing in. And you are doing, some of what I’ve been doing. My mind still does to the “what can I do?” thinking. Sometimes I think prayer isn’t enough. It is. Thank you sweet Abby xoxo

  3. I hope that eventually I will learn that I don’t have to wait until I am at my wit’s end before I slip into the truth of Jesus’ reminder: “apart from me you can do nothing.” I don’t have a labyrinth (What a great idea to build one!!), but I do find that I pray more freely when my feet are moving.
    Abby, I always appreciate an update on what your heart is doing.

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