Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Great Need


Of a great need
We are all holding hands
And climbing.
Not loving is letting go.
The terrain around here
Far too

- Hafiz

For school we are all reading the poetry of Hafiz in his great work, The Gift, as a
spiritual practice as well as a way of more deeply exploring metaphor and symbolism.  Last year we spent the entire year working through the Tao Te Ching, and it was an extraordinarily powerful experience for us all.  Several of us felt we gained a new insight into the Spirit and God's very presence in our lives.  I know many Christians eschew the practice of reading other sacred writings, but we enjoy doing so and we see how God can be found throughout the world's great spiritual texts, and I find my relationship with God deepens as I view the spirit through the lens of others.

The poetry of Hafiz is, dare I say, one of the sweetest invitations to be fully present to God that I have ever read.  In page upon page we find the very nature of a God we can't ever truly pin done revealed to us.  I was struck though, quite deeply, by this particular poem we read today which I shared above.

Our former Pastor offered a theological nugget that will stick with me always, and that is that sin is, at its core, a failure in love.  The imagery of this poem above speaks to this boldly, as we can imagine a group of people struggling through life, facing the challenges and heartbreaks of a life lived engaged in the world, and yet being able to continue on because they are tightly gripping the hands of those who pull them forward when they simply can't take another step.

Oh, how we have been blessed to have hands reaching out to us throughout our lives!  

A couple of Sundays ago, I made a bit of a fool of myself as I rose to thank our new church congregation for embracing our family so fully.  It was the year anniversary of our first time attending, and it was my heart's desire to share with them what their welcome and openness had meant to us.  Within moments, tears started to fall, and I wished that perhaps I had kept sitting in silence.  We arrived at the church doors last January not knowing if we would ever find what we were seeking, but understanding keenly that what we had was no longer a fit for us.  Sometimes, that just happens in life; there is no blow up, there is no anger, there is just a yearning for something different because you have changed.  Sometimes we are meant to be in a certain place for a season, rather than a lifetime...whether we like it or not.  We didn't like it, but we knew it to be true for us.

So there I stood, hardly able to speak, choking out words that may or may not have made any sense at all.  All I could hope was that the sentiments were understood, that our appreciation for all they had offered us, both individually and collectively, would be something they could grab hold of even if haltingly offered.

Walking back to my pew, a new friend stood up and with tears in her eyes grabbed me and held me close...and didn't let go.  Whether due to my need or hers, it matters not.  There was a recognition in that vulnerable moment of mine that we all need one another, and we need to hang on tightly.

Our family has learned this in the trenches, as emotional missiles have flown overhead, sometimes exploding right in our foxhole.  We grab hold of one another, we duck for cover, using our own bodies to protect each other from the sting of shrapnel and emotional fallout that our previous lives created. We hold hands desperately, tightly, sweaty palms gripping sweaty palms until the terror passes, quiet descends, and we look one another straight in the eye and say, "We made it through another one!"  The grip grows ever tighter with each subsequent unexpected fusillade.  Though fewer and farther between, the war still rages from time to time against the barrage of emotions that arise from lives previously lived outside this family, from neglect, from being as alone in the world as one can ever be.  

We are stronger for it, without question, but we need more hands to hold.  We are not done growing...oh, I doubt we ever will be, for we are Team LaJoy and growth and exploration are our middle name!  Sometimes though, we become weary from exhaustion.  Our laughter and great joy is genuine, but it comes at quite a cost as well.

Being vulnerable on a daily basis is hard, hard work, and doing it alone is impossible. As Hafiz, in his great wisdom, says above, "The terrain is far too dangerous for that."  We need to hold on to one another's hands with a mighty force, and never let go.

We all need one another.  As each LaJoy reaches outside our family in numerous ways, each of us unique in our approach and interaction with the world around us, we do know one thing for sure...we must not let go, we must reach for others who need help for their own climb, for the ascent alone can feel treacherous and
impossible.  We have grabbed hold of outstretched hands straining to help us many times, but we must also look behind us and gaze downhill to see the next person who needs an outstretched hand, grab hold of it, and pull them toward us.

There is a Great Need, indeed, and that need is active, participatory love.  We can't stand on the sidelines and cheer passively.  We can't just talk about it, we need to "do love".  The terrain is far too dangerous for ANY of us to let go of one another.

1 comment:

Dianne Miller said...

Your words made perfect sense to all of us and we thank you for sharing them that morning. We are so glad we found each other! .......Dianne