Tonight my sweet son got sick right as he was going to bed. My husband and I were both there to help him and tuck him back in. We went to bed soon thereafter, but I could not sleep. Something inside would not let me fall into slumber. On the couch in the living room, I began to pray for his healing and to speed his recovery. Not long after, I heard him get up again. I was there-- right away-- rubbing his back, soothing him. I had been keeping vigil and arrived just in time.
What could be more comforting for a child than knowing that his mother is there for him, keeping a watchful eye over him as he tries to rest? What could aid his full healing more than knowing that his beloved parents are there to support him when he feels so sick?
I once went on a ten-day Deep Ecology retreat in the woods with 150 other seekers. Deep Ecology is a philosophy that teaches us that we are all (humans and non-humans) interconnected in a vast web of life. Deep Ecology is a deep, long-range view of ecology as opposed to short-sighted and shallow views of the earth. The idea is that we all belong to one great cosmos. During this amazing extended week of workshops and experiences, one night, we kept a vigil for the earth. About 25 of us chose to stay up all night, dancing, singing, talking, drumming around a bonfire until the sun rose. At each hour of the night, we would stop and pray for whatever area of the earth was experiencing dawn at that moment, sending healing to an earth that is sick. It was a beautiful event, a life transforming moment. Out of all the workshops and discussions and lectures I was a part of that week, I felt this was the most significant episode of them all.
There is something special, vital, critical, yet indescribable about keeping vigil over someone you love. It is an experience worth having, an act of supreme love.