Updated: Jul 1, 2021
My elementary school was situated relatively closely to our small town’s main hospital. It was not uncommon to hear sirens blaring by our classroom window. My third grade teacher, a frail, quiet woman named Bernie Williams, alerted us at the beginning of the school year that the way we respond when we hear sirens was to stop and pray.
I don’t vividly recall the sirens. I only distinctly remember my teacher’s response. She never directed us beyond that day to pray; she just did. We’d be in the middle of a spelling lesson, and she’d drop her head and go silent. Upon realizing what was happening, we’d join her in prayer. And then, after a few brief moments of prayer, she’d resume the lesson. No discussion, no lingering. Just back to life.
I was in session with a client who was working through concerns about judging others. The client discussed people’s alarming behaviors and being annoyed with those people. Am I being judgy? The client questioned. Something in this conversation sparked images of Ms. Williams and her impromptu prayers. How easily we become annoyed and off put by people’s behavior when it does not align with our thinking or morality. But what if we were to shift our thinking to recognize people’s unusual behavior as a type of emotional siren? Their behavior is loud and the one thing we can render is prayer. No judgment, no gossip, no grand exits. Just prayer. And get back to life.
The application of the DAWN:
1. Recognize pain, injury and need when you see and hear it – in others and yourself.
2. Pray. Just Pray. Trust God to provide the needed help.