I was with a grieving friend and her words fell off into I don’t knows, “I just don’t know”. We sat in silence, but what I knew from all the words that preceded the self-doubting “I don’t know” was actually she did know. She had proved it to me by all her other words. Because here’s what I know, words take time to form.
Even if they don’t all fall in order yet, when we have words, we know something. It can take decades for a concept to move from head to heart to mouth. So when the words begin to come, even the ones surrounded front and behind with, “I don’t know”, we can take comfort in the depths from which they come, and that a tremendous muchness is known and so, be gentle with ourselves as the process takes shape.
I watched the sun leave the forest today and it surprised me the way its illumination allowed such a perfect view of the way the forest breathes. In the same way your and I’s chest lifts as we breathe in so do the limbs of the forest rise as the wind rushes in, and down again as it rushes through and out.
This can be difficult to observe when you are in the middle of the forest, but from a distance as the last of the light escaped higher and higher to the forest ceiling, leaving the floor cloaked in dark, every rhythmic breeze brought visual evidence as the once-covered-in-darkness limbs would lift and be covered again in golden light ever so briefly before they sank back into the dark…then lift into the light, then sink…then lift…then sink, until finally all the light fled away.
I watched longer. I listened and felt the breath never left, but I couldn’t see its effect clearly now.
I looked up and saw the moon had risen and the phrase, “The light of the moon, the light of the night” chorused through my mind and heart. I turned and saw the colors of the sky and I gasped at how wonderful every moment of this world we live in truly is; heartbreakingly beautiful that the light of day leaving could teach us the way to be aware of our own heart beating.
Isn’t that the way of it? It happens when we watch our loved ones leave (or move relationally from) us too. Reality sinks in so often not by choice but by evidence of life. We understand it was here, once it leaves, in the same way we understand what has already long lived inside of us once we can find words, borrowed or our own, to describe it and speak it to another soul.
Life! It’s here in our night, in our unknowns, like the light of the moon, the light of night. The desolation of winter brings clear paths through the woods, the rocks in the river break open the sound otherwise hidden beneath the surface, letting us hear its roar, giving us discernment of the depths, the swiftness of the rapids. As the sun descends and rises we get to see colors of the sky we might otherwise forget beneath the mid-day sun and our busy-busy work. Birth and death too, beginnings and endings, arriving and departing, bring such clarity, distinction, understanding.
We shy away, we pull back from the thresholds, or the things that would bring them. We don’t know the words right away, so we fear and we say we don’t know at all…but the forest is still breathing even when we can’t see its limbs reaching up into the last light, and the thresholds…still…come, including the spring.
All of creation is calling us to be alive right where we are, faithful with what is right in our hands, today. And to the one who is faithful with a few things…
P.S. I shared on a subject dear to my heart over at His-Israel this week: The Liminal Space Between Christianity and Judaism. I’d love it if you take a peek.
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All photography ©Raynna Myers 2018