This evening I am really noticing how dark it is. It is only 5:30 in the evening and it is already pitch black outside. It is hard to think that we will get darker earlier and earlier for another month yet, that is a lot of darkness. At this time of year I seek out warm, bright places and people to keep my spirit alight through the crisp winter night. I seek warm embraces and lighthearted or enlightening conversations as well as cups and bowls of liquid warmth, sweet or savoury.
“Even the darkness is luminous” I preached earlier this fall. I can’t even recall what precipitated or preceded this declaration, I am not usually inclined to make such promises from the pulpit, but it seemed right at that time, and, to be honest, it is something I truly believe, so it wasn’t too much of a stretch to say it.
I have found that even (or possibly especially) when there are dark times those times can harbour incredible possibility and depth. So I will pledge again to savour the winter, allowing the dark and the cold to teach and enlighten.
Raw, Well-Cooked and Burnt
You ask, Why do you cry?
with such sweetness all around?
I weep as I make the honey,
wearing the shirt of a bee,
and I refuse to share this suffering.
I play the sky’s harp.
I curl around my treasure like a snake.
You say, What is this “I” business?
Friend, I’ve been a long time away from that.
What you see here is your own reflection.
I am still raw, and at the same time
well-cooked, and burnt to a crisp.
No one can tell if I’m laughing
or weeping. I wonder myself.
How can I be separated and yet in union?
In case you didn’t get to see this, it is definitely worth at least listening to, I almost cried when I listened to it today! Obama demonstrates yet again the power of his rhetoric; the power in telling stories, the power of naming, the power of a distinct rhythm, the power of refrains that the crowd can own, the power of a hopeful message.
I have been thinking about the importance of keeping faith, of maintaining trust in the world, trust in life, in spite of all the powers of fear and distrust at work in the world. “While we breathe, we hope” says Obama in this speech, and somehow along the way in my life I’ve managed to grow a faith with roots so deep that all I need is a breath to give me hope, to breathe in is to trust the world and trust life. It is never easy, trusting the world takes courage and even hard work, but hope is something worth fighting for.
During a lot of my seminary education I heard about trusting ourselves into life in spite of the seemingly untrustworthy world around us. I witnessed the testimony of the life lived by one of my teachers as proof enough that trust and hope are possible even in the face of pain, despair and tragedy. Though these days I find myself needing space for grieving and mourning a myriad of events, underneath that pain and sadness I find abiding hope, and it is that hope that I take comfort in.
I really wish that all people could find that deepest thread of hope and trust in their truest, wisest selves. The wisdom of the universe tells us that hope really is just a breath away, trust that breath.