Lisa Allgood, Executive Presbyter
““Then this humanlike figure touched me again and gave me strength. He said, ‘Don’t be afraid, friend. Peace. Everything is going to be all right. Take courage. Be strong.’ Even as he spoke, courage surged up within me. I said, ‘Go ahead, let my master speak. You’ve given me courage.’.” – Daniel 10:19 (Message)
I’m not going to lie. It’s only Wednesday, 6:30 AM, and already this has been a really hard week.
I have struggled with words, with feelings, with past and with future; I have struggled with the tough decisions some friends have made; I have struggled with the foreboding medical news of a dear long-time friend;I have struggled with understanding how someone could possibly think that way, how could I possibly have missed that, how is this all suddenly so hard that it must be me and no I know I don’t want to control it I just want to understand it…?
Or – is it me? (Possibly. Of course. Some of it, at least.)
When my daughter was a dancer – and she was a beautiful dancer – on those days when her body didn’t do what she needed it to do, her mentor would tell her she could quit – for 24 hours. It’s something we still tell each other on days and weeks like this.
Instead of quitting, I went out on my sunny back porch inside the colorful garden I love and read a few lines of a book I have kept, and written in, and underlined. I have many such books I cherish – I love words. I love words that make my soul sing in an unexpected “YES!” full of exclamation marks and underlines and bold capital letters, and other times a quiet whisper of a “yes” that no one but my soul will ever understand, and for which I can find no words but only grateful reflective sighs. Only the joy itself knows why some times.
And then I closed my eyes and just listened for a while, to the birdsong and the giggle of the three-year-old little girl two houses away, and the hmm of a lawnmower somewhere, and the rustle of a chipmunk in the dying green of the spring daffodils.
“There’s so much beauty to love…All the little things…
The beautiful thing is the little thing…
We are all carved of immense confusing holiness.” *
Emily Dickinson, of course, wrote “ ’Hope’ is the thing with feathers – That perches in the soul – And sings the tune without the words – And never stops – at all…”
For me, Hope is that tiny relentless sun-seeking sliver of green that fights its way through concretety stony pavementy places. So, in the words of a friend who runs photo safaris in Africa – today is ending; tomorrow I will try again.
So I bridge to hope. And tomorrow I will try again.
* Brian Doyle, “One Long River of Song”. I won’t point out which essays. I will leave it to you to find your own “yes”es in the words.