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Many thanks to thank the editors and publishers at Women’s Voices for Change for selecting my poem “Evergreen Today” (from Seriously Dangerous) to be featured in their Poetry Sunday column.
How can we not lose our souls when everything and everybody pulls us in the most different directions? How can we “keep it together” when we are constantly torn apart?
Jesus says: “Not a hair of your head will be lost. Your perseverance will win you your lives” (Luke 21:18-19). We can only survive our world when we trust that God knows us more intimately than we know ourselves. We can only keep it together when we believe that God holds us together. We can only win our lives when we remain faithful to the truth that every little part of us, yes, every hair, is completely safe in the divine embrace of our Lord. To say it differently: When we keep living a spiritual life, we have nothing to be afraid of.
Many people live with the unconscious or conscious expectation that eventually things will get better; wars, hunger, poverty, oppression, and exploitation will vanish; and all people will live in harmony. Their lives and work are motivated by that expectation. When this does not happen in their lifetimes, they are often disillusioned and experience themselves as failures.
But Jesus doesn’t support such an optimistic outlook. He foresees not only the destruction of his beloved city Jerusalem but also a world full of cruelty, violence, and conflict. For Jesus there is no happy ending in this world. The challenge of Jesus is not to solve all the world’s problems before the end of time but to remain faithful at any cost.
But why does Jesus forsee only more of the same? Yes, he know the hearts of men. Does He also know how small a roll church leaders will play in trying to establish peace? Jesus also knows unless the sheep are led, they will not go there.
“The Lord travels in all directions.
The Lord arrives from all directions at once.
Wherever we are, we find that He has just departed.
Wherever we go, we discover that He has just arrived before us. ”
Thomas Merton. No Man Is An Island (New York: Harvest Book, 1983): 239
God operates in eternity not time. He operates without spatial limitations. He just arrived everywhere but He never left anywhere. Nothing He does causes anything else. Everything is just as it has always been and always will be. This is the God in Whose hands I am, have always been, and always will be. So are you.
When you write a very angry letter to a friend who has hurt you deeply, don’t send it! Let the letter sit on your table for a few days and read it over a number of times. Then ask yourself: “Will this letter bring life to me and my friend? Will it bring healing, will it bring a blessing?” You don’t have to ignore the fact that you are deeply hurt. You don’t have to hide from your friend that you feel offended. But you can respond in a way that makes healing and forgiveness possible and opens the door for new life. Rewrite the letter if you think it does not bring life, and send it with a prayer for your friend.