“you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls”

Isaiah 58:12

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We have arrived at those muddy, brown days between winter and spring. When I cross the yard to the chicken coop, it feels as if I am walking on a sponge. We have had a few warmer days and a few sunnier days, but it is not yet clear to me if the damage of this winter can be undone.

Somehow I find it harder to believe in spring the closer it comes.

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My daughter is learning about the Holocaust in school. Every afternoon she shows me some newly acquired fact, as if she half believes that this time, this time, I will contradict her teacher. I will say, No, no, it wasn’t as bad as that. Instead, I only ever say yes. Yes, it’s true.

Here is what she does not say: How do you go on living in a world where such things have happened? Still happen?

Here is what I do not say: I don’t know.

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As a writer, I pick up the pieces. Even the ugly, broken pieces. I arrange them and rearrange them, and I search for hidden meaning. I find patterns, and they always say the same thing. They say, Look! Here is something beautiful. Here is good news.

Except that recently, I can’t seem to find the pattern. The broken pieces remain only broken pieces.

They are so many. They are so sharp.

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Because it is Lent, we begin each Sunday service with The Decalogue rather than a hymn. We hear the list of God’s ten commands, and they are like stones that form a wall that enclose a garden.

Gardens grow best within the shelter of a wall, but we have torn down the wall with our own hands.

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Perhaps we must first listen to the bad news if we hope ever to hear the good.

Perhaps it is sorrow for all the broken pieces and all the tumbled stones that gives us courage to stand up. To rise up, leave the sackcloth and ashes, and go searching for our new name.

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Maplehurst

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