humboldtNews stories have emerged this week that there has been an overwhelming outpouring of support for the people of Humboldt. Money, cards, posts on Facebook and even an open letter of sympathy to the truck driver. How wonderful to see that instead of pointing blame, serenity and humanity are present.
There is little that I can add that we don’t already know or we haven’t thought of. Hopefully the monies collected will be well spent to continue to make services available to people. In my home province of Quebec, the Lac Megantic tragedy offers us many lessons about how long grief can last as well as how deep its effects can be.
People will be affected by this accident in different ways and their grief will not unfold along the same timelines as the headlines. Likely, their grief will last longer and go deeper than headlines can address. In the wake of the accident, it will take real people holding (literally) other people during the series of firsts that will inevitably come – The first Christmas, the first birthday, the first anniversary of some kind – after the day of the accident. Healing takes time, and it does not happen well in prolonged silence. The after-voices will need to be gentle, graceful and patient.

We are humbled by the people of Humboldt.

Here are my prayers that will be sent along with the card my congregation signed this past Sunday.

To the people of Humboldt and all the families who are in any way connected to this tragedy beyond the city… we the community of Carleton Memorial United Church have included your in our prayers.

And today I offer these prayers:

God of grace,
We pray today that we not leave You in the wake of this tragedy of loss – loss of life, loss of spiritual connections, loss of meaning. For we know, God, that the people of Humboldt will need to continue praying to draw on the strength you bring all of us.

Help us to not dwell on the shortness and fragility of life, but to know its truth.

Beyond being mindful of the courage they will need to put their children back on a bus of any kind, or get behind the wheel of a vehicle, help us to be conduits of courage to weather the ups and downs of the journey that no doubt awaits these friends and families. Through your Holy Spirit, please let them know how proud they have made all of us to call them fellow citizens of our country. Please let them know that we are amazed at the peace they had exuded. We are humbled by by the people of Humboldt.

Caring God, make us mindful to check in with them in the months the follow to let them know we continue to hold them in prayer so that they are free to think and feel what they need to think and feel. Guide us to hold them in prayer so they continue to hold each other in person.

All this we pray with deepest sorrow for their loss.


Rev. Eric Lukacs