I’ve become practiced in prayer. That wasn’t part of my plan. It isn’t a residue of my design, but instead is a lucky spark of light of which I’ve become a tiny part.

     What kind of town is this? It’s both a blessed and cursed place full of unique artists and crippling expenses. There’s a darkness that lives here that is deeper than night, more horrible than death. It rears its head in surreal moments of tragedy and steals our peace. It is a murdering force, a mental illness that knows no bounds, that respects no god, that fears no fate. It was there in the senseless mutilation of Shannon Collins by a mentally ill man who fell through the cracks in the system. It was there in the horrific murder and rape of Maddy Middleton by an emotionally disturbed teen. It is there in uncounted and untold crimes against invisible people hated for being homeless or immigrant.

     There’s no easy explanation for these types of darkness. There’s no apparent cure. There’s no given way to understand. All we can do in the face of this insatiable malevolence is to pray and shed tears.

     Tonight, I will pray for my friend Robbie who has suffered a major stroke and is in the hospital at Stanford in the ICU. His stroke was not a result of this darkness, but it brings it to mind because he has long been one of my sources of light, one of my bright spots. His humor, his ability to bear witness, to welcome people who were different into his life and work has been an inspiration to all who have known him.

     Today is a day devoted to love, and so I will pray with all the light of love I can find in my heart for this man’s soul and recovery.

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