And we are put on earth a little space,
That we may learn to bear the beams of love.
– William Blake
The interviewer probes,
so do you think the economy will get better?
Fear leaps up from the gut
climbs to her throat
voice shakes, melts into tears.
back in her bedroom
at mom and dad’s
turning over at night
she sees the puzzles, rock collection,
Girl Scout Handbook
stacked on the shelf beneath the window,
teeters between now and then
on the brink
of circumstances beyond her control.
Better to practice walking on thin ice
before we find ourselves there.
How does one learn to trust
your life will bear your weight?
The grey sheet shrinks from the shore.
Dark water laps milkweed stubble,
slopping over hoof-pocked mud.
Could she step over the translucent border
to opaque surface a few feet further out?
Oh to put her future in a box,
tie it with a pretty bow
and place it next to high school
yearbooks on the shelf.
The fortune tellers circle,
bracelets jangling, bright skirts swinging,
leaning over their tea leaves crying out:
Alzheimer’s, incontinence, poverty, ruin!
After millions heard her cry on public radio,
after her immersion into choking humiliation
She saw what they had seen
and loved it now.
Come, she said, as she took her nakedness
into her arms like a lost child,
a beautiful melody.
I will teach you how to walk on thin ice.
Let us go to the spring woods
and learn to pull uncertainty and loss
to our chins like a blanket of oak leaves,
sweet pine needles, mushrooms,
and the milky blooms of May apples.
All the best and most beautiful things
are willing to go under at any moment
and take us with them into the dark
to be carried back again,
laughing sheaves of light.
Child of my heart, listen.
Don’t turn away from my face.
when born by the arms of grace.
Don’t ponder ancient history
Look! I am doing a new thing. Isaiah 43: 14-21
Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like the watercourses in the Negeb.
May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
carrying their sheaves. Psalm 126: 4-6 NRSV
Note to readers: This blog is part of a series of Lenten “short takes” on the themes of lent, which follow more or less the lectionary Scripture lessons for this season. Like a note you find tucked under the bark of a tree, a lozenge to let melt in your mouth, an amulet to wear around your neck, I hope these little reflections may hold a small dose of truth or comfort or challenge for your life on the way to Easter.
In the abundance of words which inundate us daily, it is easy for the message of redemption to be buried under the latest disaster, outrage or scandal. Likewise the familiar stories and passages of lent may grow dull and trite to ears and hearts already stuffed with words.
I have noticed in my work as spiritual director that it is hard for many of us to take in the goodness and grace, as well as the challenge of the story of Jesus and God’s redeeming love. Perhaps we need to titrate the gospel. Sometimes a well- timed, tiny dose, carefully administered, may be what the Physician orders for our healing. And so slowly we build up our tolerance for love and more and more joy finds the faith in us through which to invade our being.
Dose titration: adjustment of the dose until the medication
has achieved the desired effect
- Love – in Small Doses for the Sin Sick Soul #5 (theprayinglife.com)
- Love – in Small Doses for the Sin Sick Soul #4 (theprayinglife.com)
- Love – in Small Doses for the Sin Sick Soul #3 (theprayinglife.com)
- Love – In Small Doses for the Sin Sick Soul (theprayinglife.com)
- Redemption Titration* – A Gentle Dose for the Sin Sick Soul (theprayinglife.com)