by Lisa Graham McMinn
This day my heart is heavy, yes, with the weight-of-the-world sort of trouble caused by a small smart virus. But more significantly Job-like heart-wrenching trials that have fallen on a little family in my clan. I tried writing a defense of God answering questions of “why them?” and “how could a loving God allow this?”
That didn’t go so well. God is better left undefended. So, I began again.
I am working to speak less, to use fewer words to say a thing, to listen more. Besides, when I am on the receiving end of a well-crafted aptly spoken word (or three) I have discovered it has freedom to move into the crevices of my soul and touch the place that most needs touching.
What can I do on this day, what can we do on a day demanding answers for unanswerable questions? We respectfully hold our unknowing and the unknowing of others. To our rational mind it is a cop-out. But to our heart attuned to mystery, holding our unknowing is a gift of release to a God one believes is, by definition, Love.
Maybe it helps us to hold our pain and the pain of others in dark days. Maybe we all need holding more than words—presence more than questions or answers.
To that end, on this day in the middle of Lent, as the world wrestles a virus shaking our sense of control and putting life in perspective, as our families and friends encounter grief (sometimes grief upon grief), I offer a few strung together words in an attempt to welcome, unknowing.
collective hope just flew overhead—
squawking joy heading
unmindful of heaviness below
“light as a feather”
collective hope on the move
honking gray heavy-bodied
it's the beautiful
(though not perfect)
that draws my face upward
what do geese know of pain, of God?
their feathery breeze
We have places to go they sing, lives to live.
their shadow passes
(my burden stays)
One named Love
called us into being and holds
After 20 years as sociology professor Lisa became a Writer in Residence at George Fox University, and now meanders the woods and tends goats, hens, gardens, and sometimes bees. When she’s not outside she's likely savoring her current course in The Living School (affiliated with Richard Rohr’s Center for Contemplative Action), reading, writing, making goat-milk soap, or listening to the nudges of God with one of her spiritual directees. Lisa is a contemplative Quaker who seeks to see each storied life as part of a bigger story—all of them held together by God. She and her husband live on Fern Creek, a small farm a few miles outside of Newberg, Oregon. For more information about Lisa and her work, visit Fern Creek Farm.