all of the words/none of the words

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The world has been a strange place to live of late. I have so many words to say, but at the same time, so few.

There is much that could be said about the haze that has settled over this land, making mornings dark as midnight; the orange glow a constant looming reminder that nothing is permanent. There is much about the people waiting on edge to find out whether their home is no longer a safe place to be, or about the way the news cycle flashes onward for all but the ones on the ground living it. And we complain when the air gets difficult to breathe but somehow still have to carry on, somehow still not even the ones actively threatened by the fire.

There are so many words for the people who still don’t have clean drinking water, for the fact that ‘Walmarts full of children’ is a phrase that came into existence this spring, for the ways that things like this have happened for generations and we still wonder at the trauma, the fallout. We think we’ve changed, think we’ve prepared enough shells of thoughts and prayers for every outcome. We think, so long as the new cycle hasn’t yet flashed onward.

I have so many words for the ways I feel Jesus calling, “yes – step out of the boat. Walk with me here, and do not be afraid. I fed a city from a child’s lunchbox, turned empty nets into boat-sinking swarms of fish, took up the cross and used it to beat sin to death. I see you. And you can trust me.” Truth washes over me again and again, but waves of fear swirl around my ankles all the same.

There is much to be said for the way I overthink everything, exist as a swirling mess of thoughts that take so long to untangle, for the ways I’ve plunged forward boldly in spite of it all. For the ways I have learned to stop giving other people the ability to determine my self-worth, and for the hesitant thoughts that still lurk in the back of my mind.

There are the seasons of transition we find ourselves in, the ones we think will just be temporary – but then realize that the way we perceive life and stability and being settled are remnants of the worldview we held as children, and that life is one giant run-on sentence of change and uncertainty and nothing is solid apart from Jesus himself. They are the seasons where our voices are called up to leap wildly into the unknown and speak life, cry justice into a world that appears dark and confusing.

There are so few words I have a firm grasp on today, besides love.

Love well. Love fierce, and don’t let this life make you hard. Softness is a strength, a place where compassion and a heart for justice can grow. Don’t let the painful, difficult things stop you from feeling it all, deeply.

Do the hard work of wrestling through big things, for there is hope to be found, even if you must do battle so see it. That hope is only in Jesus, the one who is love - it will never be in building walls or in hiding away from others.

Show up for your people. Rally around them. Don’t fall off the edge of the map – your people need you, and you need them too. Rest where you need to; sit in the places you need to process, even after the news cycle has flashed onward. Speak the truth even when it is hard, even when there are people who disappoint you, even if you feel like you are standing alone.

You are loved.

You are loved.

You are loved.

 

Joyfully,

Alice

 

A Poetic PS. (from my collection detritus)

conversation with a tree

it's in the way their shoulders move,

tense, roll back, letting the truth slide off.

it's not in their eyes, like everyone thinks.

the shoulders tell all. tension is the truth –

because planters never know, can only water

and hope for the best. it is intrinsic to life,

the very essence of who we are.

certainty is a cheat, whispering green words

that wrinkle at the first sign of frost.

nothing is certain, though many are real.

chase after real, grip it tight and

plant many seedlings there, because

home is where you water the grass and

sometimes fact is second to faith.