December 14, 2012. A heavily armed young man opened fire at a Connecticut elementary school, killing 26 people, including 20 children in the second deadliest mass shooting at a U.S. school in history. Immediately, police, parents, and others rushed to the scene joining the teachers and school officials comforting the remaining children. We are reminded of the good people who respond in times of tragedy, even risking their own lives. They, along with the victims, are in our prayers. This poem by Rumi says it for us.
And so we pray this news . . .A dragon was pulling a bear into its terrible mouth.
A courageous man went and rescued the bear.
There are such helpers in the world,
who rush to save
anyone who cries out. Like Mercy itself,
they run toward the screaming.
And they can't be bought off.
If you were to ask one of those, "Why did you come
so quickly?" He or she would say, "Because I heard
Where lowland is,
that's where water goes. All medicine wants
is pain to cure.
And don't just ask for one mercy.
Let them flood in. Let the sky open under your feet.
Take the cotton out of your ears, the cotton
of consolations, so you can hear the sphere-music. . . .
Give your weakness
to One Who Helps.
Crying out loud and weeping are great resources.
A nursing mother, all she does
is wait to hear her child.
Just a little beginning-whimper,
and she's there.
God created the child, that is, your wanting,
so that it might cry out, so that milk might come.
Cry out! Don't be stolid and silent
with your pain. Lament! And let the milk
of Loving flow into you.
The hard rain and wind
are ways the cloud has
to take care of us.
Respond to every call
that excites your spirit.
Ignore those that make you fearful
and sad, that degrade you
back toward disease and death.
— Jelaluddin Rumi in Mathnawi II
(lines 1932-1942, 1950 - 1960)
translated by Coleman Barks*
*from a collection of versions of Rumi entitled Delicious Laughter by Coleman Barks. Used by permission of Coleman Barks