“May the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
At the staff/volunteer luncheon, Mark (our much-loved volunteer) shows me the video on his phone of a large storm drain well-outside Cranaleith’s property line. It had been fully blocked, and he tells me the story of how he filled and removed twenty-seven contractor-grade bags of trash, old tiles, broken concrete, plastic bottles. I can’t take my eyes away from the video of the water from that stream, now freed from the blockage, flowing down the hill, the clear water newly released, rushing into the creek, filling Cranaleith’s pond. On the video, I can see the rippling stream, hear the satisfaction in Marks’ voice as he turns up the volume on his phone. We listen, together, to the sounds of rushing water.
The well-known theologian, Parker Palmer, describes that “we live in very broken times, times with lots of gaps between the difficult realities of life and what we know to be possible.” One of the “most important qualities a person can have in our time,” he writes, “is the capacity to ‘stand in the tragic gap’ between corrosive cynicism and irrelevant idealism, between what is and could be. We need the inner strength to hold both reality and our hope at the same time.” He says we can find that capacity in reflection, in meditation, in prayer. It is the place to breathe, stop “flipping” from pessimism to optimism, from swift labels and quick decisions. We allow a space, an opening, for the flow and shared trust of communities and the holy spirit.
Recently, during his “Music is the Language of the Spirit” presentation, Steve Hart plays songs of meaning, tells us stories about each. He and his talented friend, Ed, play their guitars for a live-music rendition of “It Only Takes A Moment,” an original song composed by Steve. Each of us sitting in our chairs lean forward to listen to Steve’s stories, marvel at the music. Then, Steve asks us to turn to one another and share what we had just experienced. Our stories bubble up in the room. We remember our childhood experiences on playgrounds, our emotional responses to certain chords, we share our memories, ourselves, our pasts, our futures. Suddenly, we feel connected with one another, with the music, with possibilities, with hope.
Hear that? If we clear a space, we can create an opening where we can listen to what flows. Let’s stand in the gap between what is and what can be. Let’s listen, together, for the waters to rush free.
Peace and Mercy,